The changing face of waste management in South Africa will be the main theme of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa’s biennial waste management conference and exhibition, WasteCon 2016, which will run from October 17 to 21 at Emperors Palace, in Gauteng.
WasteCon 2016 organising committee chairperson Jonathan Shamrock says the conference will serve as an excellent networking opportunity, during which the latest developments and trends in waste management appropriate to African conditions will be discussed.
“ . . . European solutions are not always applicable or appropriate to local conditions,” he states.
Shamrock adds that, as WasteCon is the biggest conference on waste management held on the African continent, it will remain a key function for like-minded individuals to share ideas and debate issues around improved waste management for Africa.
“Special emphasis will be on municipal waste management, recycling and alternatives to landfilling, while other topics that will be addressed include healthcare risk waste, integrated waste management plans, legislation and waste-to-energy.”
As waste-to-energy is receiving a lot of attention as an alternative to sending waste to landfills, Shamrock notes that discussions at the conference might be able to shed light on the environmental and economic viability of this technology in a circular economy.
Testing the viability of cleaner production and industrial reuse programmes will also be discussed. While 450 delegates attended the conference in 2014, Shamrock believes that the number should increase for the 2016 event, which has already confirmed 93 exhibitors.
He notes that the Department of Environmental Affairs will share the latest developments in waste legislation – which is constantly changing – with the delegates, including ways in which legislative changes have emphasised the need to divert waste away from landfill.
The exhibition – which will be open to the public – will be much larger this year, owing to many international exhibitors, and their contribution to the technical programme through the presentation of papers in their specialised fields, he explains.
“The exhibition area will offer a variety of educational sectors, ultimately providing excellent exposure for exhibitors to showcase their products and services,” Shamrock notes.
A highlight of WasteCon will be the keynote address by Denmark-based COWI A/S waste and contaminated sites VP Torben Kristiansen, who will focus on the current status of the waste management industry, legislation and practice in Europe. He will also focus on the South African waste landscape, including the recent policy and legislative changes and whether a European-modelled policy will be viable in South Africa.
“Kristiansen will also share the intended and unintended consequences of current European waste management legislation, as well as the private sector’s involvement in waste management,” Shamrock concludes.