The Chemical and Allied Industries‘ Association (CAIA) has been working closely with government and other stakeholders to supply input into the regulations, norms and standards required to implement South Africa’s National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008. The act provides a coherent and integrated legislative framework addressing all the steps in the waste hierarchy.
The association held Responsible Care workshops in Johannesburg and Durban in June, to update members on progress to date and what they can expect when the new regulations, norms and standards become effective.
Speaking at the workshop, CAIA Responsible Care manager, Louise Lindeque, said the regulations would likely extend producer responsibility and set stringent criteria for the implementation of the waste hierarchy, to encourage cleaner production and resource efficiency.
"CAIA’s Responsible Care programme emphasises compliance with legislation," says Lindeque. “We therefore assist our members to stay abreast of developments and to plan ahead so that they will be prepared to fulfil the requirements of the new regulations when these come into effect.”
The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) deals with general, commercial and industrial waste streams, including hazardous waste, and forms the blueprint for the way waste is managed in South Africa. The NWMS is a requirement of the Waste Act (2008) and is aimed at establishing a common platform for action by government and all stakeholders to improve waste management systematically.
The strategy has been circulated and is due to be gazetted by early next year. Key challenges for the chemical industry (and other industries, similarly) include extended producer responsibility, the development of a national waste manifest system, the hazardous waste classification system, the control of waste disposal to landfill and the remediation of contaminated land.
Speaking at the workshop, Martin Ginster of Sasol said that waste avoidance and minimisation have become particularly important aspects of waste management, especially with regard to hazardous wastes, to protect the environment and human health.
Ginster said waste management should focus on prevention by adopting an integrated, systematic and hierarchical approach, including cleaner production techniques, effective and sensible reuse and recycling, and responsible treatment and disposal. This will assist in promoting the diversion of waste away from landfill.
CAIA will continue to be actively involved in the process of developing and refining the instruments necessary to ensure cleaner production and resource efficiency for the benefit of human health and the environment.