Ekurhuleni moves towards strategic management of waste

The provision of efficient refuse removal services in Ekurhuleni is top priority for the head of Department for Waste Management Services at the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Qaphile Gcwensa.

The metro has been criticised for inconsistent service standards, lack of expertise to drive innovation, a difficult to understand and unreliable refuse collection system. Gcwensa, who has been at the helm of the department for a year now, has been working hard at abusiness reengineering process set to transform the department’s operations, systems, models and legislative compliance.

“One of the key areas of this process is our operations,” she highlights. “We are looking into the way in which we render our services, the balancing of our routes, the number of shifts, the distribution and utilisation of equipment and vehicles, and also considering the effectiveness of our move-on system of refuse collection versus the fixed system.”

Residents of Germiston and Bedfordview have already begun to experience the effects of this focus on streamlining operations. In January, the Bedfordview waste management depot started rendering comprehensive services to the areas of Primrose, Elandsfontein, Klopperpark, Malvern East and Wychwood instead of only litter picking. These areas were previously serviced by the Germiston depot, based on an informal agreement, and this led to an unreliable service.

The reengineering process is putting a spotlight into such matters, which were previously overlooked and in turn had a negative effect on service delivery.

Bins and trucks

Another element is the phased roll-out of 240-litre bins to all households in the metro. These bins are currently being utilised in the Edenvale, Bedfordview, Alberton, Tembisa, Nigel and Duduza customer care areas and the metro aims to extend these services. To complement this move, R69 million is budgeted in this financial year for the procurement of refuse removal vehicles to ensure consistent and reliable waste collection services.

“We are currently replacing our old trucks, but from next year we will be buying to augment our fleet. We should, however, bear in mind that although we have budgeted for the procurement of new vehicles this financial year, the business reengineering process will inform the distribution of said vehicles to improve operational efficiencies.”
Waste removal calendar

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) currently operates on a “move-on” system for refuse collection whereby a refuse removal schedule is distributed to households annually. This colour-coded schedule indicates which day refuse will be collected in a given week. Consultation with residents has shown that many people do not fully understand the system, especially when collection days change due to public holidays.

It can happen that some areas are not serviced for up to two weeks in a month where there are a lot of public holidays. The metro is thus in the process of converting into a fixed system to avoid such occurrences and reduce the amount of illegal dumping caused by the misinterpretation of the calendar.

Waste removal cooperatives

In September last year, executive mayor Clr Mondli Gungubele announced the introduction of cooperatives to render removal services in informal settlements that currently do not receive these services. The department is at the final stages of phase one of this process.

A cleaner Ekurhuleni

Waste minimisation and recycling are key components of an integrated waste management system. The Waste Management Services department is due to present this plan, which will be a key part of a broader Integrated Waste Management Plan, before the end of this financial year. This plan offers, among others things, the removal of recyclables from the waste stream in order to reduce waste volumes to landfill sites, which are running out of airspace.

According to Gcwensa, the metro is moving towards ensuring compliance with all legislative requirements, including measures and mechanisms aimed at minimising waste. The revision of the EMM’s waste management by-laws and introduction of norms and standards have also been prioritised.

The picture of actual service delivery, however, is promising as the department reports that 91% of refuse removal rounds were collected as per schedule in the last quarter. Litter picking services are rendered on a daily basis to ensure cleanliness on main entrances, main routes, central business districts, industrial areas, around shopping malls and at other strategic areas.

Source: http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/05/14/ekurhuleni-moves-towards-strategic-management-of-waste/