Approval for coastal landfill site

A waste disposal site in Walvis Bay is one of 11 such sites that received stamps of approval from the ministry of environment and tourism.

28 July 2019 | Ministries

Pohamba Shifeta; Minister; “We will, however, continue to monitor levels of compliance . . .”

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw

The minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, approved the Walvis Bay landfill site on Wednesday.

Shifeta said that the harbour town along with 11 other declared waste disposal sites, have followed the due procedures in applying for environmental clearance certificates. Inspections have also been undertaken to these waste disposal sites, and it has been determined that they are in compliance with their approved Environmental Management Plans and the conditions of their environmental clearance certificates.

“These sites may not be perfect but we are satisfied that significant efforts are being made to improve standards of waste management at these sites. We will, however, continue to monitor levels of compliance with their respective Environmental Management Plans and are in the process of bringing more detailed regulations on waste management, which include standards and guidelines to assist local authorities to ensure the environmentally sound management and disposal of waste.”

The minister said the standards and guidelines were designed to be practical and that their implementation in many cases does not require huge levels of investment.

He urged all local authorities to ensure that the revenue from charges to citizens and businesses for waste disposal is re-invested to ensure that waste disposal sites are brought up to sufficient standard.

“The majority of local authorities also need to address the lack of human resources and capacity at waste disposal sites as a matter of urgency. They need to invest in basic technologies so that waste is handled effectively and in an environmentally sound manner. In many settlements and in areas outside the jurisdiction of local authorities, there is often a complete absence of formal facilities for waste disposal.”

Shifeta expressed concern about the impacts of poor waste management practices on the environment and public health. “We identified a number of priority problems at our waste disposal sites. There is open burning of waste, often no operational management, no fencing, no segregation of waste and potential serious impacts through contamination of soil, air and groundwater resources and even loss of life to waste pickers and scavengers.”

Waste management, treatment, handling and disposal are listed activities in terms of the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Act No. 7 of 2007) and its regulations. This means that any business or organ of state undertaking planning to undertake these activities must apply for an environmental clearance certificate, and must carry out an environmental impact assessment.

Since the regulations of the Environmental Management Act were gazetted in 2012, the ministry of environment and tourism has been engaging local authorities, regional councils and local industry to improve standards of waste management and to ensure that all waste disposal sites apply for environmental clearance certificates and that standards of management of waste disposal sites are improved.

Section 5 of the Environmental Management Act also confers on the minister of environment and tourism certain powers in respect of waste, namely to, declare a site to be a waste disposal site or to approve an existing waste disposal site; list by notice in the Gazette or by regulation types of waste and impose fines or imprisonment any persons who do not discard waste in a manner or method that the minister may prescribe.

The other ten sites that have been approved as waste disposal sites, as per Government Gazette No. 6753 dated 1 November 2018, are:

1. Kupferberg Windhoek Landfill, Khomas region

2. Epukiro dumpsite, Omaheke region

3. Oshakati dumpsite, Oshana region

4. Okahao dumpsite, Omusati region

5. Rundu dumpsite, Kavango East region

6. Oranjemund dumpsite, ||Kharas region

7. Ruacana dumpsite, Omusati region

8. Tsandi dumpsite, Omusati region

9. Eheke dumpsite, Oshana region and

10. Ondangwa dumpsite, Oshana region.

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