pelican.jpg (333200 bytes)   A Bird's Eye View on Waste

Waste Management

Conference Programme

Giving Communities a Stake in Waste Management
by Mari Van Der Merwe
Education and Waste Minimisation Co-ordinator
Keep Durban Beautiful Association
South Africa
A significant development within the waste management industry over the last 20 years has been the acceptance, by those responsible for the implementation of an efficient and effective waste management system in any community, that the members of the community are an essential element in the process. They produce the waste and they also have a responsibility to ensure that the waste is disposed of correctly.
In order for waste to be correctly managed in any community therefore there needs to be:
  • An agreed upon standard of cleanliness that needs to be attained or maintained;
  • The provision of adequate technology and facilities in order to meet this standard;
  • The capacitating of all sectors of the community so that, the importance of a clean environment is understood, the facilities and technology are correctly utilised and there is community involvement in the cleansing and beautification initiatives; and
  • The agreed upon standards are enforced.
The successful experience I will be sharing with you has included the contracting out of the waste collection service to small emerging entrepreneurs, professional monitoring to ensure that the service delivery meets the required standards, one on one education of all sectors of the community and the initiation of community based cleanliness and beautification projects.
Background Information
In September 1996 the two Durban Central Local Councils assumed responsibility for the former R293 Townships (Umlazi, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma), Ningizimu (Lamontville, Chesterville and the five of the six city hostels) and Inanda. Following from this Durban Solid Waste was tasked with introducing an effective waste collection service to these areas. Currently this services is being provided for the residents of the 167, 500 dwelling units, both formal and informal, in these areas through the outsourcing of the service to 37 individual contractors. The work is allocated through the affirmative procurement public tender system, minimum standards are set. The service includes the distribution of refuse bags, minimum of one per household per week, the collection of all refuse that is put out for collection on refuse collection days, litter picking and verge cutting. The services are managed on behalf of DSW by Munitech.
In line with the current waste management trends, identified earlier, it was accepted by DSW that
the provision of waste disposal facilities alone was not sufficient and that these should be complemented with a waste management education programme. Through funding, from DSW, a grant was made available to the Association of Clean Communities Trust for 14 Community Development Workers (CDW’s) to be employed by the Keep Durban Beautiful Association (KDBA) to implement a waste management education programme.
The first CDW was employed in March of 1997. Initially the contract period for a CDW’s was one year. KDBA was however able to make the first grant extend to cover an 18 months period. Further funding was then secured to extend the contract for the CDW’s to the end of June 2000.
The role and function of the CDW’s can be presented as follows:
  • To represent DSW/KDBA in the community
  • To have a thorough knowledge of, as well as an association with the community, in which he or she is working
  • To have a working knowledge of the Clean Community System.
  • To be responsible for:
- Creating an awareness amongst all sectors of the community of the importance and benefits of a clean environment.
- Providing information on the waste management facilities available in an area.
- Enabling every individual in the community to accept responsibility for a clean environment.
The above to be achieved by:
  • Taking every suitable opportunity to inform members of the community about waste management issues.
  • Developing and implementing specific programmes and projects aimed at changing the community’s attitudes and behaviour regarding the way that they dispose of their waste and enabling them to accept responsibility for the cleanliness and beautification of their area.
  • Identifying and participating in opportunities created by other organisations/municipal departments to reach the community.
The CDW’s account for their activities through;
  • Report back and interaction with the community
  • Regular meetings and written reports required by the management of KDBA.
  • Taking of the required Photometric Photographs.
Six CDW’s work in the North Central Council area and six in the South Central Council area. There are two CDW’s in the City Centre - one in the Warwick Junction area and one at the City Hall - linking what is happening in the suburbs to what is required in the central city area.
The CDW’s meet jointly once a month ,with an Education Officer and the Education Coordinator from DSW, responsible for the CDW’s, to set tasks and objectives. Individual reports on work undertaken during the preceding month are given at this meeting. A weekly meeting is also held in the North and the South to coordinate the practical implementation of projects and for the CDW’s to assist each other in developing their programmes. Although basic tasks are set for each month the CDW’s are encouraged to go beyond these and to use their initiative and creativity in order to implement the most appropriate and effective waste management education programme for their area.
The CDW’s work with all sectors of the community these include: Educational Institutions; Business ( Formal and Informal ); Churches; Youth Structures; Taxi Operators: Households ((Formal and Informal settlements); Social clubs; Organisers and Managers of Crowd Events;
Councillors; Development Forums; etc.
The CDW’s initiated their programmes by compiling a profile of each area that they were going to work in. The profiles included details such as population size, number and type of dwelling units, businesses, educational institutions, hospitals and other relevant government institutions offering a service in that area, etc. Programmes and projects include:
Door to door house visits
  • This is a community centred activity and enhances the community’s understanding of waste management.
  • It also prepares households for the practicality of waste management education when it comes to starting projects such as Adopt a Spot /Verge.
  • Door to door also serves as a research tool for the Association in establishing the level of service that is provided and identifying people’s attitudes to waste management issues.
  • The project in many instances has served as a starting point for identifying key people in different communities, the formation of committees such as street committees and clean community committees representatives.
  • Clean up campaigns and a number of adopted verges have been the most common follow up activities after door to door.
Gardening Projects
The CDW’s through their contact with the different sectors of the community identified a concern about, as well as a willingness to do something about, combatting the problem of illegal dumping. A workable solution has been found in that after an area has been cleared of illegally dumped waste it is used for vegetable gardening. The result has been the mushrooming of vegetables gardens on a number of street corners, on households verges and on previously neglected open spaces. The most successful gardening projects in the new suburbs areas have been the Isishebo club a Umlazi, Qedidlala at Ntuzuma , Khula Gardening Club at Inanda. Their success is enhanced by their ability to cascade with many of the initial clubs now having more than ten groups under its name.
Adopt a spot / verge
This project is aimed at encouraging communities to be practically involved in waste management and beatification. The adopted spot /verge is initially cleaned and beautified, handed over to the community member or group, and thereafter the cleanliness is regularly monitored. Adopted areas are identified with an Adopt-A-Spot/Verge sign. Different sectors of the community - schools, churches and businesses are involved in this projects.
Information Umbrella/ Display Stands
This has been used mainly at crowd venues and at strategic points where there is a potential for reaching large numbers. The information umbrella/ display stand is mainly used to promote KDBA activities in the developing areas and to disseminate educational and promotional material to communities.
Most of the churches that have been targeted have been keen to participate in KDBA activities. They have been used as a medium to reach out to residents. Women group from the churches have played a major role in starting gardening projects and the beautification of church yards and verges.
Schools programme
The CDW’s have introduced waste management education to schools through the establishment of Environ Clubs. Schools have also been involved in projects such as clean ups, recycling, waste audits, schools beautification projects, competitions, etc.
Special Events
Special events organised by the CDW’s or in which they have participated include:
  • Clean-ups - these have not been seen as the solution to the litter problem but rather have been organised with various sectors of the community as a process towards instilling a commitment and responsibility for a cleaner environment. The cleanup becomes the starting point from which communities start to give attention to waste management problems in their area and together coming up with possible solutions.
  • Launches of various environ clubs and gardening projects.
  • Joint projects with other organisations/departments, etc.
  • Award ceremonies.
  • Recycling Projects
  • Masakhane Road Shows
  • Participation in the Mayoral Awards.
  • Participation in the KZN Industrial Waste Management Award.

The following statistics are for the period 1 April 98 to 30 March 1999

South Central North Central
No of Households reached 10.218 8.758
No of Adopted Spots 103 64
No of Adopted Verges 102 90
No of Garden Projects 15 75
No of Schoold Reached 109 130

High Schools

20 51

Senior Primary

30 43

Lower Primary

32 46


27 20
No of Workshops - Teachers 39 45
                          - Learners 45 75
No of Presentations 30 125
No of Displays 25 55
Environ Clubs formed 45 65
Business: Formal 35 60
                Informal 275 203
Churches 34 45
Taxi Industry/Rank 24 21
Photographic Survey Stages 3rd & 4th 3rd & 4th
The very challenging work being undertaken by the CDW’s in the developing areas is slowly but surely reaching out to all sectors of the community. There has been a positive response to the messages conveyed by the CDW which is evidenced in the support given to the projects they have been run. They have been able to recruit a large number of volunteers who are also active in their areas and have further enjoyed the support of key persons in the community. The work of the CDW’s has been invaluable in the introduction and implementation of the waste management services by DSW. Their efforts ensure that each resident can make an informed decision regarding the way that they dispose of their waste.
Education and particularly attitude change is however an ongoing process and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in: inculcating a cleanliness ethic amongst all members of the community; achieving individual responsibility for an improved physical environment; and introducing waste minimisation options as choices for the correct disposal of waste.
In conclusion the benefits of a well managed waste collection system, the contracting out of services and an ongoing intensive waste management education programme can be measured by the cleanliness of the area. The cleanliness of the new suburbs within the Durban North and South Central Council is remarkable and an invitation is extended to you all to come and visit them to view the success for yourselves.