Friday, 15 October 2021

Bloemfontein: Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Deputy Minister, Makhotso Sotyu, on Friday announced a ground-breaking R29 million waste management intervention for Mangaung Metro Municipality in the Free State province.

“This intervention is in response to a request for assistance from Mangaung Metro Municipality due to waste management challenges and financial budget constraints that the municipality is facing,” said Sotyu.

The waste management intervention for Mangaung is implemented under the auspices of the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) through the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), contributing towards environmental protection, conservation and sustainability, whilst creating work opportunities, and providing skills development to enable beneficiaries to secure permanent employment.

The department is supporting municipalities to include environmental priorities in Local Economic Development Plans, Disaster Management Plans and Integrated Development Plans.

“Upon receiving the request from Mangaung, I instructed the department to draft a comprehensive plan to assist the metro to improve waste management in the municipality.

“The intervention, which we have prioritised and is funded by the department [to the tune of] about R29 million, is meant to improve landfill operations, revitalise the two buy-back centres and [see the] clearing of illegal dumping and street cleaning,” Sotyu said at the ceremony to announce the waste management intervention.

The Deputy Minister kick-started her visit to Mangaung with an oversight visit to the Pelonomi ambient air quality monitoring station.

Ambient monitoring stations provide valuable information that informs the development of several tools and strategies to improve the quality of air.

Mangaung has three air quality monitoring stations located in Bayswater, Kagisanong Community Centre and Penolomi.

The stations fell into disrepair a few years ago, but the DFFE intervened to ensure that they are functional. The Penolomi station is now operational and reporting to South African Air Quality Information Systems (SAAQIS).

Information from Pelonomi station shows that air pollution is of concern in the metro, especially particulate matter.

Transport-related emissions are most intense in Mangaung and along the major road networks linking the city to surrounding provinces.

“Despite government efforts over the years, particulate matter and sulphur dioxide continue to be the key pollutants of concern across the country, especially in the metropolitan municipalities.

“As we continue to monitor the quality of air at Pelonomi station, a station we visited today, such poor air quality challenges are prevalent in the municipality.

“These impacts disproportionately affect the poor communities the most, as they are most vulnerable to unhealthy environments.” Sotyu said.