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Home » Industry News » Recycling & Waste Management » One of Cape Town’s two landfills only has four years of capacity left, warns infrastructure report

One of Cape Town’s two landfills only has four years of capacity left, warns infrastructure report

By Larry Claasen

The City of Cape Town says purchasing and developing a regional landfill site should be a “critical priority” as its Coastal Park site has only four years of remaining capacity.

The city, in its 2023 Infrastructure Report, warns that Coastal Park in Muizenberg is running out of capacity and that once it is full, all waste will have to be transported to its other landfill, Vissershok near Table View, which will come under increased pressure.

The pressure to find more landfill space comes as the city has seen a rise in its population. 

“We are now a metro of almost 5-million people, and we’re about to overtake Johannesburg as the most populous metro in the country,” notes City of Cape Town executive mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis in the report’s forward.

This means that in a metro with a growing population, it is uncertain if there will be sufficient capacity to dispose of its waste.

Long delays 

The city says it has been trying to establish a regional landfill for several years but red tape between various levels of government has delayed the setting up of this new facility.

“Several challenges have been experienced with regard to stakeholder appeals to the Environmental Impact Assessment process and a Record of Decision issued on 16 July 2007 by the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.”

The report said appeals and litigation have ensured the matter has remained unresolved to date. 

As a result, the land acquisition for a new regional landfill site has been delayed. This meant the city has “had to initiate a new process, which is currently in the feasibility stage, for the identification of a new site for development.”

The report noted that this delay was a significant concern, as the targeted date for purchasing land is 2026 — the year before Coastal Park reaches its end. 

“This will result in significant additional pressure being placed on the Vissershok landfill. This project is a critical priority for the city going forward.”

A landfill storage unit  and composter 

Though Coastal Park will soon run out of capacity, this does not mean it will be of no use once it is deemed full.

Plans are underway to create the Coastal Park refuse transfer station (RTS), which would allow waste to be disposed of at this site before being transported to Vissershok.

The original plan was to develop both an RTS and also an organic reduction facility on the same site to process organic waste closer to the source of origin and divert it from the landfill. 

However, this project has been delayed due to what the report deemed “procurement challenges” associated with the appointment of professional service providers. 

There are also a number of outstanding technical challenges regarding the strategy for organic waste collection and separation.

As a result, a phased approach has been taken that will first focus on the completion of the RTS with the construction of the organic reduction facility thereafter. 

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