FG Landfill Site to Shutdown Finally

“Miracles never cease, thank goodness” - Sharon Tiepelt, Community Member.

19 November 2018 - Interwaste which operates the FG landfill site in Midrand has lost an appeal to continue its operations. Acting minister of environmental affairs Derek Hanekom confirmed the fate of the problematic landfill late on Monday. The JSE-listed waste management group launched an appeal after a ruling in February last year that it should cease operations at the site. The landfill site which is near Olifantsfontein in Midrand has been given 10 days from 3 November to cease operation.

There has been community outcry regarding the site. Communities have complained about the odour emanating from the landfill which has caused nosebleeds, eye irritation and other health issues. The communities of Midrand, Tembisa, and Olifantsfontein have had to live with the strong smell due to the existence of the site. There could be other culprits in Midrand such as A-Thermal but one of them has been cut to size. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Green scorpions have investigated the site in the past and failure of compliance were found.

The Directive to cease operations has been issued by DEA and the appeal was turned down. There are various activities that Interwaste needs to sort out, including responding to the Greater Mainstream Forum [1] list of complaints. Other conditions that were put forward was that the air quality and health reports have to be done and be submitted to the department for review.

The availability of landfill airspace in Gauteng is already in crisis, and the closure of FG Landfill will simply aggravate this situation even further. We hope this will lead to consideration of other alternatives to landfills. Zero Waste is a sustainable alternative because it is based on recycling, reusing and thereby creating jobs and at the same time it keeps the environment clean. The City of Johannesburg stepped into the right direction when it introduced a source separation bylaw as a very important component of Zero Waste.  We encourage them to roll this out to all neighbourhoods with the integration of waste pickers.  

This is a victory for the neighbouring communities whose health and well-being has been negatively affected by the toxic odour from the landfill. This ruling will go a long way as a warning to other landfill operations that do not adhere to set and required environmental standards.

 

Footnote:

[1] Greater Midstream Forum is a community based forum which is made up of community members from Glen Austin, Tembisa, and Olifantsfontein

 

Contacts:

Musa Chamane
groundwork
Waste Campaigner
082 380 2237
musa@groundwork.org.za

Sharon Tiepelt
Community Member
082 565 6552
sharonsweboflife@gmail.com