WINDHOEK: The City of Windhoek does not known what quantities and types of waste are generated in the capital, and there are no tracking systems in place to confirm that such waste is transported to the approved facilities for disposal.
City of Windhoek (CoW) Strategic Executive in the Department of Economic Development and Environment, Utete Karimbue-Mupaine raised this concern at the commissioning of the first-ever Licensing System for Waste Contractors (transporters) at the City’s waste management division on Wednesday.
Twenty-four companies received licences to operate as waste contractors or transporters in the capital.
The licence is valid for one year, and it may be revoked when the waste contractor is found not to be complying with the conditions of the licence.
“The management of waste at industry level currently follows a react-and-treat approach instead of an anticipate-and-prevent approach, which is not ideal. The city, through the registration and licensing strategy, fills the gap identified and serves to direct and monitor waste management activities at industry level,” she stressed.
The overall objective of the strategy is to enhance sustainable waste management practices at industry level through the implementation of the waste management hierarchy in all major industries within the capital by 2020.
This will be done in order to prevent pollution and serve the environment.
Karimbue-Mupaine urged the contractors and their clients (generators of waste) to think beyond the transportation of waste, and to encourage the recycling of waste through initiatives that are currently implemented by the city and its partners.
Waste contractors are defined as all persons – excluding the council – who collect, store, transport, deposit, dispose, treat, handle or clean up any waste generated by any other person for commercial gain.
According to waste management regulations, all waste contractors have to be authorised by the city to transport waste within its boundaries. The licensing process includes the submission of information regarding the activities and operations of the waste contractors, followed by inspections to ensure that all the vehicles and equipment used in the transportation of waste, comply with requirements set.
Upon completion of the process and satisfactory compliance, the waste contractor is accorded a licensed status and issued with a licence certificate and licence stickers for each vehicle. All vehicles entering treatment and disposal sites will in future be required to display the licence sticker as a sign of compliance to the waste management regulations.
“The licensing process is simple and serves to protect the generator, the transporter and Windhoek residents at large, as it will ensure that waste is transported in a proper manner for disposal at approved facilities,” she added.
The City Council is mandated by the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act 23 of 1992) through the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Division, within the Department of Infrastructure, Water and Waste Management to ensure that all solid waste within the capital municipal area is managed in a safe and optimal manner.