SST and Ebenezer North Church join forces to tackle waste crisis

Littering and illegal dumping, exacerbated by inadequate waste removal services, have infested Nelson Mandela Bay areas Jacksonville, Timothy Valley and Bethelsdorp, turning streets and open areas into junkyards. With the situation becoming worse by the day, Ebenezer North Church in Bethelsdorp recently approached SST for help.

Heeding the urgent need for collective action, SST was quick to respond to the church’s appeal, and collaboratively developed an education and awareness campaign for the communities. The campaign started with the church and SST undertaking perception surveys within the community to understand the issues impeding sustainable waste management in the community. As part of the awareness campaign, the church then held a clean-up with its members, and from 18 to 20 March a dedicated team of twelve volunteers took to the streets to conduct surveys to scientifically assess the waste crisis faced by these areas.

The result of the survey effort alone was a staggering 140 bags of waste collected, totalling 406 kilograms of litter.

With a population density of 5,000 people per square kilometre, these communities face significant and on-going waste challenges.

To drive meaningful and longer-term change that is science-based, SST is now taking things a step further by processing and analysing the collected waste, as well as the perception surveys, to obtain a sense of the bigger picture behind the litter challenges. Obtaining such data on litter’s migration is key to devising contingency plans to safeguard our environment against littering and illegal dumping.

Moreover, SST’s collaborative effort with the church aims to raise awareness on the importance of recycling, thereby also drawing attention to the profit potential inherent in waste.

A big part of SST’s mission is to help communities in need to unlock this potential and to trigger opportunities for economic growth in the sustainable waste management space.

Though there’s still much work to be done, this partnership with Ebenezer North Church may very well mark the start of a new journey towards a more sustainable, cleaner, and healthier future in which the communities of Jacksonville, Timothy Valley and Bethelsdorp thrive in harmony with their environment.

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