The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) kicked off their 20th biennial waste management conference, WasteCon2010, at Emperors Palace yesterday. With the focus on the theme, “What is your Waste Footprint?” the opening ceremony audience were inspired by the famous words of Michael Jackson, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change,” aptly expressing the importance of personal accountability when it comes to waste management. The conference, which will run until this Thursday, sees the coming together of industry players from across the board to discuss topics covering the
technical, policy and recycling aspects of waste management.

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s mayoral committee member for environmentaldevelopment Clr Louis Sibeko when welcoming delegates said, “It is important that stakeholders in the waste management field communicate and work together and WasteCon presents the ideal forum for doing this.” Gauteng portfolio committee for agriculture and rural development chairperson Nokuthula Sikhakhane, in her keynote address, highlighted the progress that is being made towards their 2-year target in the implementation of the National Environmental Waste Act of 2009.

“While the new legislation presents significant improvements in the waste management arena there are still significant challenges which we are facing as an industry, particularly when it comes to the provision of sufficient funding and the availability of experienced and qualified staff,” said Stan Jewaskiewitz, President of the IWMSA

“WasteCon makes it possible for stakeholders to share their challenges and ideas for the resolution of these and other industry issues,” Jewaskiewitz stated. The exhibition areas, which are open free of charge to the general public for the first time this year, drew interested crowds who wandered through the impressive display of waste disposal vehicles and machinery displayed outside the venue as well as the multitude of exhibition stands inside. A record number of exhibitors have registered to participate in the exhibition this year and it is hoped that with the public’s inclusion, the conference will engage more people’s interest and encourage a greater awareness of waste management within South Africa.

A glittering Gala Dinner sponsored by Ekurhuleni Metro tied up the first day. “We see this conference as a milestone for the protection of the environment,” said Clr Zacharia Mpongose. “We want to ensure that we educate the community we represent to understand and respect the environment and at the same time we are working hard to build partnerships with consultants and experts in the field of waste management to assist in developing our region,” he concluded.

The IWMSA is a professional, multi disciplinary organisation with voluntary membership established to promote the science and practice of waste management and is a non-profit organisation. For more information contact the IWMSA visit: www.iwmsa.co.za