A waste management and sanitation audit of the South African National Defence Force in rural deployments in Maputoland : a case study.
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ant national legislation on the disposal of waste and waste disposal sites has been promulgated to regulate the dumping of unwanted materials. This development poses major legal compliance problems for the South African National Defence Force (S.A.N.D.F.) deployments in rural areas. The absence of municipal services to these areas and the unavailability of municipal dumpsites do not facilitate adherence to legislation. The development of an integrated waste management system for Defence represents an attempt to ensure compliance with national legislation. An overview and assessment of current waste management practices in the S.A.N.D.F. is provided in this document. The literature review focussed on the theory of waste management, the current situation with regard to sanitation in rural areas and a review of pertinent legislation, and provided the foundation for the development of questionnaires. The study then explored aspects of waste management and sanitation that were taken into consideration in preparing for operations . Data collection entailed interviews with senior members of the S.A.N.D.F. who are responsible for the planning of such projects. Thereafter an investigation was conducted into the waste management practices employed during deployments to rural areas. Data collection in this respect involved the administration of questionnaires to soldiers at temporary bases and during patrols, as well as an audit of the waste generated at the temporary bases, noting how refuse was managed under these conditions. These methods of primary data collection included interviews with various government and non-government officials. Interviews with senior members of the S.A.N.D.F. revealed that the planning and preparation for operations are core-function focused and that the integration of waste management and sanitation in the planning process is minimal and inadequate . The data obtained from questionnaires administered to the soldiers revealed that current waste management practices at the temporary bases and during patrols are considered to be satisfactory to the soldiers, as they are of the opinion that "we are doing the best we can under such circumstances". The waste audit revealed that ninety-eight percent of the waste generated in the study area is recyclable. Consequently, this study recommends that waste management methods be integrated into the planning process. Furthermore it is recommended that environmental education be included as a compulsory module during basic training and re-training for all members of the S.A.N.D.F., i.e. from senior management down to the most junior level. A long-term solution to improve on the current waste management practices is recycling. With regard to sanitation, the Director of Sanitation of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (D.W.A.F.) suggested that relevant members of the S.A.N.D.F. meet with members of D.W.A.F. and the Umkhanyakude Regional District Council, to discuss the inclusion of the S.A.N.D.F. in the current sanitation-provision projects in the study area. Short-term solutions were that the S.A.N.D.F. liaise with the G.I.S. section at D.W.A.F. This section will be able to provide the S.A.N.D.F. with information on the location of boreholes and hand-pumps (the only source of drinking water for the local population). The S.A.N.D.F. must ensure that waste disposal sites and field toilets, commonly referred to as go-karts, are located away from these water sources and, whenever possible, on higher ground.