NATIONAL NEWS - Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has urged countries to explore green industries as governments across the world work on economic recovery strategies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a result of the pandemic there has been minimal economic activity, jobs have been lost, industries and businesses have downsized or closed,” Creecy said.
Addressing the Waste Khoro 2020 event hosted virtually, Creecy said for many countries, placing their economies on a more sustainable growth path is central.
“Our country understands green industries can open new possibilities for development and create much-needed jobs. The waste management sector has strong potential to innovate and improve socio-economic conditions and contribute to sustainable development and resource use,” Creecy said.
Last week, Cabinet approved the National Waste Management Strategy 2020 aimed at promoting the waste hierarchy and circular economy principles while achieving both socio-economic benefits and the reduction of negative environmental impacts.
“The 2019 Khoro reflected on the progress made during the first decade of the Waste Act implementation and agreed on resolutions. The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) 2020 builds on the successes and lessons from the implementation of that 2011 strategy.
“The NWMS provides government policy and strategic interventions for the waste sector and is aligned and responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030 adopted by all United Nations (UN) member States,” Creecy said.
Creecy said the introduction of recyclate content targets for specific products is an important mechanism to stimulate the demand for waste resources.
“In this regard, the department has also taken strides by ensuring product design changes that embrace circularity for the manufacturing of plastic carrier bags.
“We have received extensive comments on the amendments of the plastic carrier bags Regulations, and I am pleased that we are moving in the right direction to prevent and manage plastic pollution,” Creecy said.
Other initiatives that the department hopes will promote the circular economy include the exclusion regulations that recognise material that can be used for beneficiation purposes without requiring a waste license.
The Chemicals and Waste Economy Phakisa identified several waste initiatives and priorities.
The department has approved 48 applications for the beneficial use of several waste materials thus unblocking obstacles and promoting the full implementation of the waste management hierarchy.
Currently the department has designated municipal, provincial and national Waste Management Officers. – SAnews.gov.za