South Africa: Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson Hands Over Play Parks and Buyback Center in Newcastle

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, has officially hand over R19 million worth Waste Buyback Centre and four community recreational play parks to the Newcastle Community in KwaZulu-Natal, today, Wednesday 2 November 2016.

The Department of Environmental Affairs, through its Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme has funded the projects in the Newcastle Local Municipality to the tunes of R19 million. The implementation of these projects created 240 job opportunities to the members of the local communities. The Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme is part of the Department's Extended Public Works Programme.

Addressing the Osezweni community in Newcastle, Deputy Minister Thomson encouraged the youth to actively participate in the re-use and recycling of waste.

The Waste Information baseline study that the DEA conducted in 2011, revealed that approximately 108 million tons of waste was generated, of which 97 million tons were disposed to landfill. Only 10% of the generated waste in South Africa was recycled in 2011.

The waste recycling economy is an exciting approach that will not only eliminate threats to environmental quality and its integrity, but also positively contribute to the growth and development of South Africa's economy.

It is through this economic ingenuity that the DEA will also contribute to sustainable development and inclusive green economic growth by facilitating employment creation, infrastructure, skills development and strengthening Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the waste management sector.

The Waste Management industry has significant potential to grow the country's economy and create much needed jobs for the people of South Africa. It is through such Industry Waste Management Plans that the government continues to work towards realisation of the right to an environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of people in South Africa.

Despite a total estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy, the current rate of waste recycling has not been maximized. The buyback facility will assist the Municipality to address the challenge of waste management and promote waste recycling in the area.

The facility will help stimulate diversion of recyclable waste from landfill sites, thereby creating economic opportunities for waste collectors. The four community recreational parks have been built to benefit disadvantaged area, with a focus on sustainable development in the greening and open space management areas.

The implementation of these projects provided beneficiaries with training opportunities in various fields including occupational health and safety, as well as personal financial management. These skills will assist beneficiaries to become employable elsewhere in the future.

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs.

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