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Sustainable organic waste management key to water conservation

Safe drinking water is not an abundant resource in South Africa. Approximately 14 million people do not have access to safe drinking water in the country due to various reasons, including scarcity, poor infrastructure, or pollution. With our current water situation, every measure needs to be adopted to ensure that our current water resources are fully conserved. Diverting organic waste from landfill is a key measure that can prevent groundwater pollution.

Recognized as a major hazard to numerous water bodies, our waste has the potential to contaminate any water source, making it unsuitable for drinking or sanitation. “We have observed various scenarios where inadequate waste management contributes to water pollution, such as litter accumulation, illegal dumping, effluent run-off, and compromised landfill liners,” says Brian Küsel of BiobiN South Africa. “It is critical for businesses to ensure that they handle and manage their waste volumes effectively to safeguard our limited freshwater reservoirs. Regrettably, many incidents of water pollution occur at landfill sites located near low-income communities that depend directly on these freshwater sources.”

Friday, 22 March 2024 was World Water Day, dedicated towards accelerating water conservation, safeguarding natural water resources, and increasing access to water for drinking and sanitation. Water scarcity and drought has affected many countries and is quickly becoming more severe in many parts of Africa, including South Africa. The country receives a mean annual precipitation of 497mm/year, almost 50% less than the global average.

“To mitigate these risks of water pollution, businesses and consumers should implement better and more sustainable ways to manage their waste, especially organic waste. Enclosed composting vessels can process large volumes of food and organic waste, while containing any leachate that is produced through the decomposition process,” says Küsel. “Using this alternative waste treatment method also reduces the risk associated with transporting waste to be treated off-site, where spills and contamination can occur.”

Using compost in agriculture also has its benefits towards water conservation. Replacing the use of fertilizer with organic compost reduces the risk of an excess nutrient run-off which can cause algal blooms in nearby water sources. Algae bloom reduces the oxygen content is water resulting in many aquatic species dying or migrating. This has a devastating impact on the greater ecosystem and often renders water unsanitary and unfit for human consumption.

To find out more about this innovative way to deal with your company’s food and organic waste, visit www.biobin.co.za

BEE OF THE WEEK