A tour of a couple of waste management sites in the Cape Town area has shown a group of Vision AfriKa learners that how they choose to live their lives has a direct impact on the environment.
The Grade 11 students took a full-day excursion to a rubbish dump in Stellenbosch and to the Atlantic Plastic Recycling site in Parrow near the Mother City at the end of the third term.
The aim was to help them understand the implications of how they and other members of their community deal with waste and how the current situation could be improved upon.
The tour of the Stellenbosch municipal landfill site was undertaken by Charlotte who indicated that, even though it was the last operational facility in the area, it would be full to capacity within four years and so would close.
But building a new one at a proposed location nearby would cost R38 million, making it a financial non-starter. As a result, by 2018, all waste from the Stellenbosch region would be diverted to the nearest landfill site in Cape Town.
As for Atlantic Plastic Recycling, it is the largest such company in the area, with about 12 outlets. It is supplied with recyclable material by large numbers of unemployed people who collect and sort everything from bricks to plastic from landfill sites, including the one in Stellenbosch.
Workers are provided with three kinds of collection bag – to sort the mixed unsorted items, and items that have been sorted into categories – and have to bring in no less than 500kg per visit. Atlantic then recycles the waste and makes it into plastic bags and sheeting to cover irrigation pipes.