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Do you know the two Acts legislating waste management?

by , 30 January 2014
Law makers in South Africa are serious about waste management. They've put together two Acts to help manage waste in the country. Read on to find out what these laws are so you can comply.

There are the two Acts that prescribe how you should manage waste. They are:

#1: The National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008: Waste Act, commonly known as NEMWA. This Act deals with how you must prevent and manage pollution.

#2: The Environmental Conservation Act 73 of 1989, known as the 'Minimum Requirements'. This piece of legislation facilitates the enforcement of permitting landfill in South Africa.

The Health & Safety Advisor explains that the Minimum Requirements forms part of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry's Waste Management series of documents.

The documents provide guidelines as to the waste streams and volume of hazardous and general waste that can be disposed at landfills throughout the country.

The most important piece of legislation is the NEMWA. This policy document has completely changed the way in which waste must be handled in South Africa.

It promotes the reduction, re-use, recycling or recovery and as a last resort, disposal of waste.

So when does the NEMWA apply to you?

Acts legislating waste management: NEMWA applies to companies and people who do the following:

  • Generate waste;
  • Store waste;
  • Reuse, recycle and recover waste;
  • Treat waste;
  • Dispose of waste;
  • Store, treat and process animal waste; and
  • Construct, expand or decommission facilities and associated structures and infrastructure.

If you're dealing with waste in any way, make sure you comply with these to Acts. Failure to comply will result in a R10 million fine, jail time or both! Don't take that risk. Do your bit for the environment.

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