Janho Engelbrecht MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on the Environment:
The DA is concerned over the state of landfill sites in Gauteng. They do not comply with national regulations, and this has an effect on the province’s water resources.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, only 46 of Gauteng’s 74 landfill sites are fully licenced and only 31 are fully operational.
When waste is disposed of in landfill sites, pollutants leach into the ground below and eventually into the ground water. Sites have to be constructed in a certain manner so as to prevent leaching, thus protecting scarce water resources.
Environmental legislation demands that waste disposal sites be fully compliant with national norms and standards, and that these sites be licensed according to the waste that is disposed.
With 28 sites not compliant, there is a very real risk that a large proportion of Gauteng’s rivers and dams are being polluted with high concentrations of heavy metals and other dangerous chemicals.
The knock-on will be devastating on agriculture and drinking water supplies, as two major catchment areas, the Vaal and Crocodile West are directly fed from Gauteng’s water courses.
To this end the DA will submit written questions to MEC Lebogang Maile requesting detailed information of landfill site locations, their levels of compliance, and whether any plans are under way to bring all 74 into compliance, or whether they will be shut down and rehabilitated.
South Africa’s water resources are under threat, and every possible precaution must be taken to prevent further harm to our catchment areas.