Characterisation and management of open waste dumps in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rabbani, Fehmida Qaddus
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This study set out to understand salient issues around waste characterisation and its management, using Fords burg, Johannesburg as the study area. The purpose of the study was to investigate open waste dumps in order to provide baseline information in designing management interventions. To this end, several objectives were specified: measuring the locational attributes of open solid waste dumps and analysing the internal linkages, classify waste across study area, analyse the variations in the profile of waste in the study area and outline current waste management approaches. Following the conducting of fieldwork, primary and secondary data were analysed and results presented. These were then discussed to generate key findings of the study. Open dumping is a major concern in many South African cities and beyond the borders of the country. Illegal waste dumping in Fordsburg, a residential district in Johannesburg, needs immediate attention from the authorities of the City of Johannesburg (COJ) first; and from all those, whose lives may be adversely affected by such practices. This practice is partly fuelled by rapid urbanisation and the poor handling of waste from generation and through the entire waste chain to final disposal. The key findings of this study are: • The locational attributes of waste dumps cannot be used to explain variations in the size of waste dumps because both R-square values and correlation coefficients are extremely low; • The classification of waste and its density across the study area may not necessarily point to the sources of generation; • The closeness of waste dumps to the roads is an indication of the possible ways in which this waste is illegally dumped; • The low scores for the mean waste dump size also indicates a higher and regular rate of waste collection; and • That the outsourcing of the waste collection work to a private contractor could be important in interpreting some of the results. Waste management practices for Fordsburg have relationships with urban policy, municipal capacity, the state of waste infrastructure, the status of waste information systems, including the need for monitoring, evaluation and training for skills improvement. The study shows that the COJ faces several challenges in trying to deliver a modern waste service. It has also been indicated that some of these challenges are in fact external to the COJ such as: the limited control over the activities of the contractor and the issue of translating pieces of environmental legislation into standardised measures. The significance of the findings include: some issues around the soundness of current urban planning by COJ with regard to waste delivery. Recommendations focussed at different stakeholders through whom better practices of waste management could be achieved: the waste directorate of COJ, the provincial department of environment and the national department of environmental affairs.