Bin operators work with rubbish but “we are not rubbish”
The garbage truck slowly makes its way down the suburban street. People in council uniforms jump down when it comes to a halt. They run ahead, wheeling the waste bins on the pavements onto a mechanical bin lifter - a special contraption that lifts the bin before tipping it over, spilling the contents into the bowels of the huge truck.
It is a familiar sight across the globe – the people and pick-up trucks that help to keep the suburban and city streets clean. In the process they prevent vermin breeding and the world smelling, well, pretty awful.
Cities running out of space
Hassien Satarien works for the Cape Town City Council in a city that generates 1,8 million tonnes of waste annually. It is estimated that each of the city’s residents produces 2 kg of waste per day. Across the country, cities are running out of space as landfill sites are reaching their full capacity. This means that waste departments and private entrepreneurs are facing huge challenges in dealing with the problem.
The importance of waste management and the people that perform this task becomes all the more visible when municipality workers go on strike and sometimes create havoc during industrial action when the contents of rubbish bins are scattered in the streets and piles of waste mount up around the city.
In some parts of the greater Cape Town metropolitan area, householders are requested to separate their waste according to recyclables – tin, paper, glass and plastic – and organic materials. About 1300 tons of recyclable waste is diverted from landfill sites every month. Organic materials end up in the bins that bin operators like Hassien deals with. And while the big guns are looking for solutions to the landfill challenges, people like Hassien makes sure that our cities are not buried under heaps of filth.
Treasures found in bins
Although bin operating is still mainly a male domain, there is a smattering of women working alongside the men. “I dropped out of school in the eighth grade,” says Natasha Carelse (29). In a country where 25% of the population is unemployed, it is even more difficult for an individual without matric to get work.
“I was willing to do any kind of work,” says Natasha. “I have been doing this job for about four years and I really love it. I meet interesting people all over town.”
She is a member of the trade team which empties bins at hotels, restaurants, shops and fruit markets.
“I always scratch in the bin before I load it onto the truck. People often throw away cell phones, clothes and other stuff that I can use.”
But sometimes the job really gets dirty. “It has happened a few times that waste spills out of an overfilled bin as it gets lifted into the truck and I get covered in all kinds of horrible stuff. But I just wipe away the worst and take a shower when I get to the office.”
She supports her unemployed boyfriend and nine-month-old baby on her monthly salary of R4 700.
Hassien, who is on a domestic team, is studying for his matric. “I wish I had the opportunity when I was younger to further my studies and to become a magistrate. But I know this dream might be unattainable at this stage of my life. I want to continue working for the Council, but I hope to eventually become part of the risk management team. We have so many fires in the townships and I would love to be able to really do something for the people when they have losses.”
Like Natasha, Hassien has also found treasures in or around the bins. “Many ratepayers are incredibly good to us. They will leave clothes, food and other usable things that we can use on top of the bin where we can easily find it. One of my colleagues bought a second hand car from a ratepayer, but when he went to pay for it, the owner said he could have it as a Christmas gift.”
Respect for everyone
The physical work keeps him fit, says Hassien. “We run around a lot and are quite fit, but I have suddenly started picking up weight. Maybe it is because I am getting older.”
The secret of doing his job well is to treat others with respect. “This means that I sometimes pick up bags which are not inside the bins. When people see that you are willing to help them out, they are kind to you. I try to always act in a way that is exemplary. My colleagues and I may work with rubbish, but we are not rubbish.”
African Utility Week
In May, challenges around waste will be discussed at African Utility Week where political and business leaders from across the globe will come together to discuss Africa’s utility service delivery challenges. Waste - how to manage waste and landfill sites, how to set standards for waste management, how to recycle waste and co-operation between city councils and business - is one of the eight tracks to be scrutinised.
Says Claire Volkwyn, African Utility Week’s project director: “we look at local and international best practice case studies to inform our municipalities of the latest developments in waste management. From Brazil and Rwanda, where there are some really forward-thinking things happening, to the City of Johannesburg’s hugely successful World Cup 2010 Pikitup campaign as well as how Cape Town decided to master the basics. Other highlights in our programme include the very exciting local waste-to-energy projects and how the private sector can play an important partnership role with their local munis.”
African Utility Week will focus on all aspects of the utility service sector on the continent with dedicated tracks on: Metering, Renewables, Water, Large Industry, Infrastructure Investment, Transmission & Distribution/Smart Grids, Generation and Waste Management.
Conference: 22-23 May 2012
Exhibition: 21-23 May 2012
Pre-conference workshops: 21 May 2012
Site visits: 24 May 2012
Event location: Expo Centre, Johannesburg
African Utility Week is part of Clarion Events, the UK's largest independent events company with annual turnover of over £150m, drawing upon over 80 years of experience of hosting strategic conferences conferences and seated events across Britain, Europe, North and South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Our events, business-to-business and business-to-consumer, serve 15 different market sectors from leisure and entertainment to finance, from retail to gaming and from fine art to energy.
Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Tel. +27 21 700 3558
Fax. +27 21 700 3501
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844
Postal address: PO Box 321, Steenberg, 7947, South Africa
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release Bin operators work with rubbish but “we are not rubbish” here
News-ID: 214932 • Views: 1633
More Releases from African Utility Week
Will the African utility of the future be a lion, hyena, a white elephant or a h …
A brand new study into the future of African power utilities and the challenges they face has highlighted four possible scenarios of what the continent’s energy sector will look like by the year 2030. In the whitepaper, titled: “The Future of Energy and Power Utilities in Africa”, utilities are envisioned to either become “The Lions of Africa”, “Hungry Hyenas”, “An Elephant Herd” or “White Elephants”, with each scenario having
Indian energy companies ready to do business at African Utility Week
“Indian utility vendors and services will find a huge market and scope in Africa, especially in South Africa’s energy sector, says Dr. Rajeev Singh, the Director General and CEO of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The ICC represents India at the upcoming African Utility Week from 15-17 May in Cape Town, hosting a pavilion of more than 45 suppliers of specialised technology and services for the energy sector. Dr Singh
Finalists announced for African Utility Week Industry Awards show continent-wide …
The fifth annual African Utility Week Industry Awards received nominations from far and wide for the 12 different categories celebrating excellence in the energy and water industries. The finalists have been announced for the awards which honour pioneering utilities, projects and people in the energy and water industry on the continent during 2017/2018. The awards gala dinner takes place on 16 May and forms part of the African Utility Week
African Utility Week announces diamond sponsorship by longstanding partner Lucy …
African Utility Week has announced that Lucy Electric, a longstanding partner of the event, will be the exclusive diamond sponsor at this year’s exhibition and conference in Cape Town from 15-17 May. Lucy Electric is a highly respected industry leader in secondary distribution solutions with more than 100 years’ experience in the electrical industry. “African Utility Week is a key conference which evolved over the years from an electrical measurement, generation,
More Releases for Africa
Energy Drinks in South Africa
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Energy Drinks in South Africa to its growing collection of premium market research reports. Energy Drinks in South Africa industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: market share, market size (value and volume 2011-15, and forecast to 2020). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the
Meat in South Africa 2017
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Meat in South Africa 2017 to its growing collection of premium market research reports. Meat in South Africa industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: market share, market size (value and volume 2012-16, and forecast to 2021). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Synopsis: Essential
14th Africa Independents Forum
The 14th Africa Independents Forum 2016, 25-26th May, gathers together leading independents and corporate players worldwide and from across Africa, both listed and unlisted, large and small, established and new entrants, and provides enhanced exposure to the wider Africa-wide upstream industry in oil, and gas, exploration and development, including issues in crude oil and financial markets, engaging equity financiers, banks, private equity and investors found on the AIM and LSE,
Vizocom Selects iSAT Africa as Its Africa C-band Partner
Vizocom, a leading global provider of satellite services, announced today that it has signed a partnership agreement with iSAT Africa to cooperate in providing satellite services and solutions. Sharjah, UAE, March 02, 2016 -- Vizocom, a leading global provider of satellite services, announced today that it has signed a partnership agreement with iSAT Africa to cooperate in providing satellite services and solutions such as data solutions including C-band VSAT services and
23rd Africa Oil Week
While the African Continent continues to attract a steady stream of oil and gas commitments in its fast-growing oil, gas-LNG and energy industry, our landmark Africa Oil Week 2016 event will again showcase Africa’s Governments, National Oil Companies, Licensing Agencies and corporate players shaping the continent’s future – in exploration and production/development, across new frontiers and established basins; onshore in the Rifts and offshore in the shelf and deep-water, providing
Avnet extends its Africa focus
Avnet Technology Solutions, the solutions distribution leader and an operating group of Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT), has extended its focus on the fast growing African region by investing heavily in the resources with a dedicated team of highly skilled sales, technical, financial and marketing professionals to expand its footprint across the continent. Avnet is also expanding its portfolio of products, solutions and services for solution providers on the African continent. A