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    Illegal dumping is not only an eyesore but is hazardous too

    We bet you didn’t know that in South Africa almost 180 000 tons of garbage are removed yearly from hotspots because of illegal dumping. To put that into perspective, it costs you as the taxpayer, R350 million annually.

    Cleaning up illegal dumping is 20 times more expensive than clearing out trash cans.

    So, why are people doing it?

    Why are people not just discarding their waste in bins, skips and at allocated sites? Are people even aware of the impact they are causing when they dump their waste illegally?
    The top reasons for people’s lack of concern when it comes to illegal dumping include ignorance, laziness, and convenience. It’s simple, South Africans lack awareness and frankly, they just don’t care.

    Here are other reasons why it is a continuous occurrence even on the front step of our own lawns:
    • Increased costs for garbage disposal,
    • A shortage of storage space,
    • Untrustworthy waste collection schedules,
    • Unsafe and difficult-to-access dumping sites, especially in informal settlements,
    • Population growth,
    • High Level of overall waste production,
    • Social norms – illegal dumping is regarded as a minor issue.

    Gene Lohrentz, CEO of urban management company Geocentric notes the following: “Illegal dumping is a severe problem that puts our community at risk of injury and illness and pollutes our ecosystem. In addition, illegal dumpsites can serve as magnets for other criminal activities.”
    Whether it’s residential trash, construction debris, or industrial waste, this disposal has terrible consequences for the environment, the economy, and the community.

    What are the consequences?

    • Illegal dumping sites act as habitats for mosquitoes and other pests such as rats and cockroaches that can spread deadly diseases and even cause deaths,
    • It damages the environment,
    • It causes water, soil, and air pollution,
    • It blocks water systems,
    • Fire hazards,
    • Diminishes property value and affects tourism,
    • Health and safety risks,
    • Can harm the environment, animals, and plants,
    • High amounts of taxpayers’ money.

    Whose responsibility is it to stop it?
    The onus does not solely rest on the municipality to combat illegal dumping – it’s also the community’s job to prevent it from happening. Unlawful dumping needs to be reported and stopped by everyone.

    How to combat it:
    Besides the obvious answer that people should use dedicated dumping sites, here are some ways to help the fight against illegal dumping:
    • Awareness and education,
    • Reporting unlawful dumping,
    • Law enforcement and prosecution,
    • Lower disposal fees,
    • Recycling initiatives such as the opening of various designated areas for free,
    • Construct structures, barriers, and locked gates to prevent entrance to illegal dumping sites,
    • Install signs at hot spots with illegal dumping prevention messages,
    • Efficient and well-communicated waste services so that people don’t feel the need to dump waste illegally,
    • Keep areas free of illegally dumped waste,
    • Environmental organisations and clean-up events.

    You might be beginning to think about what steps YOU can take to decrease waste in your organisation given the growing pressure on businesses to reduce their environmental effect from all sides.

    ISO 14001:2015 is the International Standard that assists governments and organisations in developing an Environmental Management System (EMS).

    An Environmental Management System, or EMS for short, is a set of policies, procedures and practices that specify the guidelines for how organisations deal with the environment.
    The risk of environmental impact and the amount of waste is reduced when the requirements of the standard are correctly implemented.
    The standard has provisions that might guide organisations in making sure its recycling and waste management procedures work effectively. The Standard also governs pollution and climate change.

    The advantages of implementing ISO 14001 in your organisation include:
    • Assistance in demonstrating compliance with current and future statutory and regulatory requirements,
    • Top Management engagement with employees,
    • Improving company image, credibility, and the confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication,
    • Promoting the use of evidence-based decision-making,
    • Offering a competitive advantage over companies that do not adopt the Standard,
    • Reducing costs,
    • Integrating the organisation’s business system with the suppliers to encourage better environmental performance,
    • Increasing a business’s access to new customers and business partners,
    • Creating a culture of continual improvement.

    Another benefit of being certified is the alignment of your organisation to the Paris Agreement. This includes activities designed to reduce the impacts of climate change, through appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework. It also assists in accurate ESG reporting (Environmental and Social Governance ) to relevant and interested parties.
    WWISE has a range of professional consultants, engineers, and registered auditors to assist in implementing and maintaining any ISO management system. Our industry expertise includes services, telecommunication, manufacturing, construction, engineering services, fast-moving consumer goods, mining, power generation, state-owned companies, and government-run organisations.

    Contact us today at Head Office (086 109 9473) or Cape Town Office (021 525 9159) or send an email to for more info.

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