Investigation on solid waste management in townships : case study of Umlazi, Durban.
Njoko, Lindokuhle Lucrecia.
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Today environmental degradation is perceived to be a global phenomena, since the Earth Summit of 1992 gained phenomenal interest among the international community. Consequently there was a major interest among conservationist, environmentalist and other disciplines to write about the alarming rate at which natural resources are being polluted and over utilized and eventually depleted. This is evident when one looks at land, air, water pollution, and deforestation and soil erosion. Human dependence on these resources, most of which are non-renewable, compounded by growth in popUlation numbers will inevitably impact the quality oflife of the global community. Most developing Urban areas in South Africa and formal residential areas where waste removal services are supposed to be available, are characterised by solid waste being illegal dumps on open spaces, streets etc. The heaps of waste have become breeding grounds for insects and pests. The odour emanating from these sites together with potential for diseases can have serious implications on the health of residents as well as aesthetic nature of the environment. It is not yet understood why such situations exists within formal serviced areas. This provided the motivation for the investigation. The purpose of the study was to investigate solid waste management practices in a forn1al residential area of Durban namely Umlazi and its negative impact on the human and natural environments. The effect of the social dimensions of households on solid waste practices was investigated in order to examine relationship between socio economic and current waste practices. Current perceptions, attitudes and solid waste practices of households were assessed to explain the influence of socio economIC factors in the planning and operations of solid waste management systems in townships. Questionnaires relating to the problem were administered to the residents ofUmlazi. The results indicated that the waste collection system is characterised by inefficiency. The study revealed that attitudes and perceptions, educational status and income are significant factors that contribute to effective waste management processes. The analysis of data for domestic solid waste showed that the evaluation of both the social demographic and solid waste generation rates is crucial in understanding why such inefficiency in formally serviced areas exists. This in turn could provide guidelines on the possible roles that households can play in the planning and implementation of domestic solid waste. Amongst others the consumption patterns, knowledge about waste management practices and preferences for service provision were interpreted. Based on the findings of this study and the review of related literature, it is concluded that attitudes and perceptions of residents need to change. Residents need to become responsible for caring for their environment and a different mind set towards solid waste is needed. Appropriate policy backed by legislation and enforceable regulations must underpin the strategic alternatives selected to deal with waste management in the purban Metropolitan Area (DMA). Policy legislation and regulations at the local level must be fitting with those set at national and provincial levels of government. The planning of integrated waste management should be a consultative process in which partnerships are encouraged between the DMA authorities and communities who will benefit from the waste management plan. The public and private organisations that handle waste in the municipality should be seen as part of the solution, not a problem, of waste management. Effective waste management should be appreciated as a public good from which benefits such as opportunities for employment, resource recovery, safe disposal of hazardous waste, reduced pollution and community development projects can spring.