Role of landfill pollution in global warming matrix

Role of landfill pollution in global warming matrix

August 28, 2017 

When issues of pollution are discussed, reported and presented, it’s normally the discourse of air pollution that supersedes that of landfills. Without undermining the role of air pollution in the global warming matrix, I’m convinced that landfills are equally demonic in nature, scope and content. So many people are engaged in pollution activities, consciously and unconsciously. Issues of pollution are experienced, day in and day out. Why nations tend to give prominence to air pollution without taking into account land pollution is still a mystery.

guest column: Peter Makwanya

Both air and land pollution are strange bad fellows and agents of destruction of high proportions. Landfills are sites designated for dumping rubbish, garbage and other sources of solid waste, while air pollution is a result of burning fossil fuels, bushes and garbage. Normally, when many people don’t see any smoke, to them there is no pollution. They need to see chunks of grey matter caressing the skies for them to actually ascertain the presence of pollution without taking into account activities of landfills comprising solid and liquid waste, garbage, market waste, obsolete electronic products and mine dust.

For quite some time, landfills were the most common means of disposing solid waste, especially in urban areas but currently, due to overpopulation of urban centres and the broken down of service delivery systems and poor governance by municipalities, mainly in the developing countries, landfills have become more of a sore-sight. When one looks at the large amounts of garbage and industrial waste (solid and liquid), deposited into human lifelines and sources of livelihoods like streams, rivers, dams and lakes, one would usually pose a question on whether the municipal correspondences or reporters are still available in developing countries.

Of course, one cannot deny the fact there is accelerating air-pollution as a result of burning bushes, like what is currently obtaining during this time of the year, complemented by fossil fuel mining, thermal power production and burning garbage. But the activities that take place on and under the ground due chemicals and industrial waste as well as decomposition of materials that release toxins, land pollution should not be ignored as well.

As many local authorities struggle with issues of bad governance, increased urbanisation, population growth, urban wetland farming and poor service deliveries, waste disposal systems are poorly managed, leading into the damage of the land, the environment and underground ecosystems balance. According to prevailing research, landfills emit about more than 10 toxic gases which include the dangerous methane, a greenhouse gas which contributes significantly to global warming. Also due to truancy and insolence in the mining industry, where gold-panners and other small-scale miners have been christened as artisanal miners in Zimbabwe, land degradation and dust pollution goes on unabated, especially in the advent of week arresting powers and environmental policies.

From the local perspective, before people can be articulate and be knowledgeable about climate change issues, it is significant that they become proficient on issues of pollution first. It is not helpful to bombard the local people and harass them with confusing climate change vocabulary before they cannot identify even the basic forms of pollution, whether land or air. The environment is the people’s immediate reality hence they need to know how best to manage basic issues of pollution within and around their contexts of situations. Also being conscious about the quality of water they drink and the cleanliness of the air they breathe are other critical considerations to take into account.

It is the environment which is with the confinements of the grassroots, as such, there are issues that they can easily identify with and relate so as to make sense of their worldviews. But the locals, who are indeed the custodians of the environment, are not given a chance to manoeuvre as they are always at the mercy scientific experts as omniscient narrators and politicians as architects of graft and confusion. When the locals see politicians hogging the limelight through grandstanding, they will simply withdraw into the background and as a result they will end up thinking that issues of managing and understanding pollution are not for them, as the common souls but for the elite.

Furthermore, the locals have been managing their environment, ever since, through appropriate implementation of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) without having to worry much about issues of atmospheric physics and GIS.

Carbon dioxide as greenhouse gas remains the widely known and the leading pollutant with high potential for causing global warming. Why pollution is very much prevalent in developing countries is because of the glaring development and technological gaps separating the developing countries from the developed countries. While in Europe it is the norm to cycle to work and travel in solar powered trains that are pollution free, in Africa it is a different thing altogether as they are so obsessed with driving, especially second hand cars that emit lots of carbon, with the potential of doubling pollution.

All in all, it is significant to re-orient each other on all forms of pollution so that people stay well informed and sustainably knowledgeable of these factors.

 Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Next Level Africa – Humanitarian Project Crowd Funding

GreenFire is happy to announce its choice for project crowdfunding,
Next Level Africa – NLA
The crowdfunding platform for the future.

Welcome To The Most Unique Crowd Funding Platform On The Internet For Humanitarian Projects Only

“Crowd Funding is the best way to get funds for your project, and also earn and receive the best products available from Nextlevelafrica while doing so. Start your project today and watch it explode! You may simply support other crowd funding projects by piggy backing on a project program available to all members.”

Nextlevelafrica (NLA) is unique, in that it is the only “bank” backed, “cash” backed cryptocurrency in the world. This currency is backed by 76 SWIFT enabled banks.

Today an account with NLA is FREE (see below for link). Get your account NOW. Since this is a CROWDFUNDING platform on which you may list your project for funding. The minimum funding for a HUMANITARIAN project is $100 million. GreenFire and the Children of the Landfill require over that amount and so is a premiere project on NLA.

That said, all humanitarian projects will be funded. If your project is not that large, NLA will bundle projects together to meet that criteria or you may “Piggyback” on the GreenFire project and receive associated benefits.

I was introduced to the owner of NLA, Noel Adams, several years ago, he and I became friends through many hours of conversation.. I have watched him deal with the struggles and the starts and stops that come with massive global software development, I have done a little of this myself. Regardless, it is my great pleasure to know this man and be part of the success of NLA.

Noel was the first to recognize the far reaching benefits of GreenFire and immediately donated the best of NLA services to the GreenFire and Children of the Landfill projects. My great thanks.

To Get Your Crowdfunding Platform is $15 Per-Year. You keep 100% of the money you raise. Once you signup for free, you can login to your back office to upgrade to the Project Platform. (Coming in the next few days)

Once completed, you have access to your crowdfunding page where you can choose an already existing project (cost: $5) or, create your own project. You have complete control of the crowdfunding webpage so you can get with your "web guy" to create the look and feel you want for your project. On your webpage, you can choose any method of payment for donations and contributions.

There are three ways to fund your project.

1). Drive traffic to your affiliate website where they can see your project from there and donate.

2). Basically the same. Drive traffic to your affiliate website where they can see information (as well as your project), about how they can have their own Crowdfunding Platform.

3) Once you purchase your own Platform, this places people in your Crowdfunding organization and as they upgrade to other packages, you make money which can be used for your project or personal use.

In other words YOU help fund your project by helping others fund theirs through the invitation process.

A peek at the possibilities

A Hypothetical Exercise demonstrating the power of the NLA Program we all now have in our hands.

Just to give you a little something to think of and why we know there are no other programs that come close to NLA.

Let’s say that in the last 24 hours or so we have 100 signups.

So just giving you some strictly ball park figures that we have understated for this exercise.

    • 100 signups at $15 per position, not allowing for any piggy backs.

    • That would be 1500 coins into the community.
      Or $30,000 for a cost of $1500.

    • If 10% of that were reinvested into NLA for spiffing new positions, gifting etc.
      That would be 3000 coins to the community or $60,000 on today’s coin price.

    • When that happens again, it will be 6000 coins into the community or $120,000.

    • Total of $210,000 into the community from a $1500 injection.

That is why we will have people scrambling for a position in NLA in the coming weeks.

The message here is simple, if you want positions for yourself, family or friends, DO IT NOW!!!!!! www.nextlevelafrica.com IS the Team Link!

The project listing and piggybacking will be available in the next few days, DO IT NOW!

Mike Prettyman
CIO, GreenFire Engineered Reclamation
Skype: mike.prettyman

Join with me at https://markethive.com/mikeprettyman
Then Join the Next Level Africa Group, https://markethive.com/group/nextlevelafrica

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

A Tsunami Hits the Recycling World, and We’ll All Feel it Soon

A Tsunami Hits the Recycling World, and We’ll All Feel it Soon

 August 22nd, 2017

David Baggs David Baggs

Whether you felt it or not, the earth shaking actions that unfolded recently will ultimately have an impact on every one of us.

Late last month, China notified the World Trade Organization that by the end of 2017 it will ban imports of 24 types of rubbish as part of a campaign against "foreign garbage" and environmental pollution.

Anyone who cares for the planet or is a ratepayer or who relies on kerbside recycling or a reliable supply of commonly recycled plastics for manufacturing will likely sooner or later be affected by the additional costs and environmental burdens that this recent decision by China will create in the short to medium term while the developed world waste processing and manufacturing industries change gears and re-establishes recyclate reprocessing for use in their products. The decision creates massive  policy and physical challenges for all levels of government and industry.

The official announcement to the WTO foreshadowed that China will forbid the import of four classes and 24 kinds of solid wastes, including plastics waste from living sources, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper and waste textile materials.

The major China HS categories being banned include the following types of materials:

  1. Scrap or waste plastic
  2. Waste of wool or of fine or coarse animal hair, including yarn waste but excluding garnetted stock (garnetted textiles are typically waste materials that have been reduces to a fibrous state for reuse in textile manufacturing)
  3. Garnetted stock of wool or of fine or coarse animal hair
  4. Cotton waste (including yarn waste and garnetted stock)
  5. Waste (including noils (short fibres), yarn waste and garnetted stock) of man-made fibres
  6. Used or new rags, scrap twine, cordage, rope and cables and worn out articles of twine, cordage, rope or cables, of textile materials
  7. Slag, dross (other than granulated slag), scalings and other waste from the manufacture of iron or steel
  8. Ash and residues (other than from the manufacture of iron or steel), containing arsenic, metals or their compounds
  9. ‘Other’, including unsorted waste and scrap.

The five types of waste plastics that China is banning have China HS individual codes as shown as below:

  1. 3915100000 – Ethylene polymer scrap and waste
  2. 3915200000 – Styrene polymer scrap and waste
  3. 3915300000 – Vinyl chloride polymer scrap and waste
  4. 3915901000 – Polyethylene terephthalate
  5. 3915909000 – Other related waste plastics.

While it seems the move has not drawn any public comment from Australian trade groups, it has drawn quick criticism from a major US recycling industry trade group, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which said it would be “devastating” to the global recycling industry and cost thousands of US jobs.

The Washington-based group said the move could cause severe economic harm in the United States, given that one-third of the scrap recycled in the United States is exported, with China being the largest market. That includes 1.42 million tons (3.1 billion pounds) of scrap plastics, worth an estimated $495 million, out of $5.6 billion in scrap commodities exported from the United States to China last year.

Puzzlingly, this move must also have a major impact on Chinese manufacturers and their local and international supply chains, but for previously waste exporting countries, it likely comes both with major challenges and with the proverbial silver lining opportunity.

The Chinese government cites toxicity and environmental pollution as the major reasons for the ban; it no longer wants China to the ‘garbage bin of the world.’ Government and industry in developed nations like Australia now have the major challenges of dealing with the retention of this waste, and the probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use this as the incentive to facilitate a massive expansion of circular economy awareness and application. We need to see incentives to fast-track the establishment of on-shore waste-reprocessing and re-use industrial ecosystems and facilities.

The big questions this raises are ‘what impact will this have on prices?’ and ‘do we have governments and industry with big enough imaginations to move this into the circular economy space in the short time frame that will be needed?’

To the former question, I suspect the answer will be time dependent. In the short term, I imagine an increase in the price of recycled plastic in China from domestic sources, and in the developed world likewise, alongside a glut of unrecycled plastic heading to landfill.

There is now an even more urgent need to eliminate or at the very least dramatically reduce our reliance on single use packaging, and containers and develop new models for product and beverage delivery that focus on re-useable and circular economy solutions. Given this issue hasn’t really hit the mainstream media in Australia, how are we even going to engage the public to commence the behavioural change and expectation management that is going to be necessary for this change to happen?

It is going to be a major challenge for us all.

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

TM – Trash Mafia and Lack of Responsibility

Sunday, August 20, 2017
TM, Trash ‘Mafia’ and Lack of Responsibility

 Waste pickers put their lives at risk by diving into unsanitary trash bins.

People all over Iran have long witnessed waste pickers going around cities carrying huge, filthy bags on their backs, diving in bins to salvage whatever they can sell or reuse.

Though dirty, it is a well-paid job for bin divers and a lucrative business for those who run the show behind the scenes.
Urban waste pickers operate legally in the developed world as their activities are monitored and their contribution to urban sanitation and lowering municipal costs cannot be denied. In fact, in 2008, they held the First World Conference on Waste Pickers in Bogota, Colombia, to facilitate global networking. The term “waste picker” was adopted then.

However, waste picking is not at all monitored in Iran, allowing few people to run the business behind the scenes without dirtying their own hands. Officials have often expressed concern and sometimes laid out plans to tackle the problem. All words, no action.

Acknowledging the problem, Mohammad Javad Haqshenas, member of the Tehran City Council, told Ensafnews that “mafias” operating in the shadows employ young children to do their bidding.

Last week, Mozafar Alvandi, secretary of the National Body on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, revealed that waste pickers— 60% of whom  ostensibly are refugee children — have special cards issued by Tehran Municipality which allow them to search the trash bins!

The cards, which surprisingly bear the stamp of TM, cost the holder 3 million rials (about $78.5) per month.
This shocking statement means that city officials are not only aware of the hands behind the scenes, but also their activities, despite touting measures to tackle the problem.

However, whenever the matter is brought up, TM absolves itself of any responsibility and blames contractors. Assuming city officials are right and there are contractors with no direct link to municipalities, another question comes up: Aren’t municipalities and local councils responsible for collecting and segregating waste in the first place? Or, should contractors not be monitored?

Waste pickers, young and old, put their lives at risk by working in unsanitary environments and are deprived of a normal life so that a handful of greedy people line their pockets.

Those who misuse children, whether contractors or municipal officials, must be stopped. For that to happen, legislators must reform a law that allows children to work only in workshops with fewer than 10 employees. This legal loophole must be redressed to prevent the mafias and culprits from justifying their actions and promoting child labor.

Addressing the problem is integral to the prosperity .of the country; failure to do so will not only continue to expose the poor waste pickers to health hazards, but will also impose heavy medical costs on the government.

Share This :

Short URL : https://goo.gl/r1gYJG

 

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

TM – Trash Mafia and Lack of Responsibility

Sunday, August 20, 2017

TM, Trash ‘Mafia’ and Lack of Responsibility

 Waste pickers put their lives at risk by diving into unsanitary trash bins.

People all over Iran have long witnessed waste pickers going around cities carrying huge, filthy bags on their backs, diving in bins to salvage whatever they can sell or reuse.

Though dirty, it is a well-paid job for bin divers and a lucrative business for those who run the show behind the scenes.
Urban waste pickers operate legally in the developed world as their activities are monitored and their contribution to urban sanitation and lowering municipal costs cannot be denied. In fact, in 2008, they held the First World Conference on Waste Pickers in Bogota, Colombia, to facilitate global networking. The term “waste picker” was adopted then.

However, waste picking is not at all monitored in Iran, allowing few people to run the business behind the scenes without dirtying their own hands. Officials have often expressed concern and sometimes laid out plans to tackle the problem. All words, no action.

Acknowledging the problem, Mohammad Javad Haqshenas, member of the Tehran City Council, told Ensafnews that “mafias” operating in the shadows employ young children to do their bidding.

Last week, Mozafar Alvandi, secretary of the National Body on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, revealed that waste pickers— 60% of whom  ostensibly are refugee children — have special cards issued by Tehran Municipality which allow them to search the trash bins!

The cards, which surprisingly bear the stamp of TM, cost the holder 3 million rials (about $78.5) per month.
This shocking statement means that city officials are not only aware of the hands behind the scenes, but also their activities, despite touting measures to tackle the problem.

However, whenever the matter is brought up, TM absolves itself of any responsibility and blames contractors. Assuming city officials are right and there are contractors with no direct link to municipalities, another question comes up: Aren’t municipalities and local councils responsible for collecting and segregating waste in the first place? Or, should contractors not be monitored?

Waste pickers, young and old, put their lives at risk by working in unsanitary environments and are deprived of a normal life so that a handful of greedy people line their pockets.

Those who misuse children, whether contractors or municipal officials, must be stopped. For that to happen, legislators must reform a law that allows children to work only in workshops with fewer than 10 employees. This legal loophole must be redressed to prevent the mafias and culprits from justifying their actions and promoting child labor.

Addressing the problem is integral to the prosperity .of the country; failure to do so will not only continue to expose the poor waste pickers to health hazards, but will also impose heavy medical costs on the government.

Share This :

Short URL : https://goo.gl/r1gYJG

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in Yangon's suburbs in Myanmar in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar, in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Worldwide, more than 340,000 children under age 5 died from diarrheal diseases in 2013 due to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. That’s 1,000 deaths a day, according to the UN’s statistics. What’s more, the No. 1 killer of children between the ages of one month to 5 years, pneumonia, can also be spread through a lack of hygiene.

Although much improvement has been made in the past decade to aid children across the globe, there are still alarming numbers who do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation or even just a way to clean their hands — especially after coming in contact with waste and feces.

“A gram of feces can contain ten million viruses,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Programme Division at UNICEF. “Many diseases are transmitted by pathogens going from feces to food and fingers and so on, making children ill.”

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the river Sabarmati to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the Sabarmati River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

One of the most basic hygiene problems that haunt developing communities is lack of adequate toilets. Around the world, about 2.5 billion people do not have proper toilets. Among them, 1 billion people defecate in the open — in fields, bushes and bodies of water — putting themselves and their community in danger of fecal-oral diseases, like hepatitis, cholera and dysentery.

Children are especially susceptible to these diseases when their home and “playgrounds” are overrun with rubbish and human waste. In countries throughout Asia, children can be seen swimming in polluted stagnant waters, digging through trash and playing amid toxic substances at landfills.

“When you have children running around barefeet, then coming in contact with excrete, it’s really easy to catch the worms and this of course impacts their development and growth,” said Dr. Aidan Cronin, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program at UNICEF Indonesia.

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in this slum area of Bangladesh’s capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Reuters photographers have been capturing scenes like this for the past decade. But even some of the oldest photos in this series picture grisly scenes that, sadly, are still the reality in urban slums today.

Not only do these conditions promote the spread of deadly childhood diseases, another major health problem that affects children’s lives is stunting, often caused by malnutrition but also by intestinal worms and internal inflammation from fecal-oral contamination.

Stunting has become a huge obstacle for many children’s physical and cognitive growth, ultimately affecting their development and ability to learn. In Indonesia alone, nearly 9 million children suffer from stunting, said Cronin.

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila December 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila, Dec. 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

In Indonesia, UNICEF have recently launched a campaign called “Tinju Tinja,” which means “punch the poo” in Indonesian, in support of the Government’s five-year plan to have a completely open defecation-free country. In an attempt to engage the urban youth, the campaign has one of the local rock stars, Melanie Subono, literally fighting the “poo monster” as the main image to spearhead the campaign.

“It all starts from acknowledging that [open defecation] is a serious problem,” Cronin said. “The more you engage with communities and work with them with their specific issues, the more sustainable sanitation is.”

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

One way to help children is through education and schools, said Dr. Jody Heymann, Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. A lot of progress has been made to make primary schools free and available for children around the world. In Indonesia, UNICEF works through primary schools to teach kids the importance of sanitation and hygiene by putting in clean toilets, hand washing stations and soap so that the kids can form a habit of cleaning.

“I think when we see [these] images, we should be asking not only ‘why isn’t there a playground? What’s leading them to the dump?’” said Heymann. “But the bigger question of what’s keeping them from being in school, gaining education that would give them lifelong opportunity.”

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

Sana, a five-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Sana, a 5-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai, India, in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu October 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, southwest China's Guizhou province September 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, in southwest China’s Guizhou province Sept. 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in Tondo, Manila in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in the Tondo section of Manila, in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri October 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri, Oct. 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi November 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi Nov. 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amidst a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amid a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage during Easter Sunday in Manila April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage in the Philippines’ capital city on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati river after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati River after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Don’t forget the woman worker this August

Op-Ed: Don’t forget the woman worker this August

  • ANNIE DEVENISH
    SOUTH AFRICA
    17 AUG 2017 11:45 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Photo: Informal traders with no water or electricity sell food cooked over open fires in a shack at the entrance to the construction site of Soccer City, the venue for the final of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Soweto, South Africa, 16 January 2008. Photo:  EPA/JON HRUSA

This August the media will focus on women as consumers, as beneficiaries of state services, and as victims, in a much needed effort to bring attention to gender-based violence, but it is important that we don’t forget women as workers, because it’s precisely the invisibility and undervaluing of women’s labour that plays a key role in reinforcing gender inequality. By ANNIE DEVENISH

Xolisile Mhlongo is already setting up stall by the time Durban’s mynah birds begin chirping on a weekday summer morning. She arrives at Warwick Junction, a busy transport hub near Durban inner city, at 4.30am every day to prepare the meat and dumplings she sells to passing customers.

Across South Africa, in urban and rural centres, at taxi ranks and pedestrian thoroughfares, traders like Mhlongo are setting up shop for the day ahead. They are part of the more than 530,000 street traders recorded by the South African Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), 70% of whom are women.

Mhlongo works six days a week, commuting from her family home in KwaMashu, a township about 20kms from the city centre. Working long hours, often without adequate toilets and storage facilities, and sometimes in hostile environments facing theft or police harassment, these women generate vital income to support their families and their children’s education.

This August the media will focus on women as consumers, as beneficiaries of state services, and as victims, in a much needed effort to bring attention to gender-based violence, but it is important that we don’t forget women as workers, because it’s precisely the invisibility and undervaluing of women’s labour that plays a key role in reinforcing gender inequality.

According to Stats SA there are 9,438,000 economically active women in the labour force as of 2015, which means that they constitute almost 50% of the nearly 21 million economically active South Africans. The term economically active includes both people who are working, and those who want to work, but are unemployed.

Like Mhlongo, more than a third – 39 % in fact – of employed women work in the informal sector, compared to 29% of employed men. Statistics South Africa’s definition of informal employment includes all workers in the informal sector. Employers, own-account workers and unpaid family workers are defined as being in the informal sector if the business for which they work is not registered for VAT or income tax. Employees are defined as being in the informal sector if their employer does not deduct income tax from their pay and if the business in which they work has fewer than five employees. Informal employment also includes employees in the formal sector and private households whose employers do not contribute to their pension or medical insurance, and who do not have a written contract.

Those who are defined as working in the informal economy might be street traders, recyclers, or domestic workers. They could be home-based workers, involved in the production of clothing, catering or child care. Alternatively they could be day or seasonal workers in construction or agriculture.

What is certain regardless of industry is that workers in the informal sector are more vulnerable to risk and uncertainty because they do not have any form of social security or worker benefits, such as sick leave, holiday pay, proper pension schemes, medical aid and unemployment insurance.

And because employed women are more likely to work in the informal sector compared to their male counterparts, they face a disproportionate amount of this risk. Women workers also lack maternity benefits which puts them at a particular disadvantage, because it means that they have no job security when they take time off work to have children, and when they do, they will not receive any income support. Without access to benefits and the buffer of social security, an accident, unexpected illness, confiscation or destruction of stock, or eviction from the work space could spell disaster for such workers, placing their livelihoods at serious risk, and propelling them into a cycle of poverty.

A severe burn accident in 2010 brought this reality home to Mhlongo. She works in the Bovine head section of Warwick market where there is no electricity or running water. Cooking is done with a Primus stove using paraffin. One morning while trying to get a flame going, the lid of the stove came off, dousing her with paraffin and setting her alight.Mhlongo was badly burnt on her shoulders, chest, upper arms and face. Even her eyelids and the inside of her mouth were scorched. She needed specialist care, and was transferred to Addington hospital, a government-run facility on the Durban beach front where she spent three months recovering. During this time she could not work, and would have received no income at all had it not been for a family member who ran her stall for her.

But it’s not just women in the informal sector who face discrimination; in the formal sector too, despite the gains made in educational attainment, women are pigeon-holed into less valued, lower skilled and lower paying industries. And when they do perform the same work as their male counterparts, they are often paid less. This is clearly illustrated by the distribution of female employment across industry sectors, and the pay scales of male versus female workers.

Stats SA figures quoted in South Africa’s Report on the Status of the Women in the Economy (2015), show, that with the exception of women in professional occupations, women are more likely to be employed in low-skilled occupations at 36.2%, compared with 24.8% of men. At the top end of the scale, only 11.7% of employed women are in high-skilled occupations, compared with 14.4% of men.

As the report notes these differences are partly the result of the relatively large proportion of women employed as domestic workers. Just under a million women work as domestics in private households in South Africa, making up 14% of all working women in the country, and playing a vital role in enabling their employers to go out to work.

At the top of the employment ladder this imbalance is even worse. Figures show that between 2000 and 2014 only 20.4% of top managers were female, according to the Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report (2014-2015).

Figures from the 2013 SA Labour Market Dynamics Survey reveal that the median wage of all women in South Africa is less than that of their male counterparts of the same race. There are however important differences among women across race groups where gender and race intersect to create a more complex hierarchies. For example, the median wage for white women in South Africa was a staggering five times the median wage for African women, indicating the depth of inequality amongst this group as a whole.

All women are workers, even if they are not in the marketplace. This is because they perform the bulk of the productive and reproductive labour of the household, such as cooking, cleaning and gardening, caring for children, the sick and elderly, and providing emotional care and social support to the broader community. This unpaid care work contributes directly to our country’s economic and social development.

A Time Use Survey conducted by Stats SA in 2010 found that women spent nearly four hours per day doing housework and caring for their families and community. This was more than twice the amount of time spent by their male counterparts. The magnitude of this becomes clearer when we put a monetary value on this time and labour. A calculation of the estimated value of this unpaid care work by Debbie Budlender (2008) concluded that of the proportion of women’s unpaid care work as a percentage of South Africa’s GDP ranged between 11% and 30% depending on what type of measure was used. The words of activist George Monbiot certainly do seem to ring true here, that “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire”.

The irony of course is that social welfare policies and practices are often dependent on women’s unpaid care work. At the height of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa, community NGOs and government clinics across the country relied on volunteer workers to provide home-based palliative care to the sick and dying. The majority of these care workers were women who received no compensation, except for a stipend to cover transport and food expenses. By providing a constitutionally obligated service to the populace, these women’s unpaid care work was in fact subsidising the state, assuming the state’s responsibility for health care.

Ensuring an effective health care system is therefore a way of acknowledging and alleviating the burden of the unpaid care work of nursing the sick. Governments and business can also acknowledge the contribution of this invisible care work in relation to childcare, by providing affordable quality child care to enable greater participation of women in the labour market.

Challenging gendered perceptions of care work as women’s work is equally important in order to encourage a more equal distribution of household chores and child care, an approach advocated by the Sonke Gender Justice network. And government policies, such as improved paternity leave, are also needed to reinforce such social interventions.

But change is needed not only at the national level of policy making, but also at a local level, when it comes to infrastructure provision and urban planning. As Francie Lund, former Director of the Social Protection Programme at Women in the Informal Economy (WIEGO) explains, the work environment for traders like Mhlongo at Warwick Junction is defined by municipal rather than national policy. It is therefore the municipal provision of infrastructure in the form of toilets, shelters for traders, improved security, and access to reliable electricity and running water that will make tangible difference to their conditions of work.

August is woman’s month in South Africa, commemorating the 20’000 plus women who marched to the Union buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of the discriminatory apartheid-era pass laws to them.

Today women like Mhlongo and her colleagues continue to organise as part of the South African Informal Workers Association (SAIWA) to ensure greater recognition of their rights as workers and greater visibility in the workplace. Local and national unions, like SAIWA in turn are tied into global networks such as WIEGO, HomeNet, StreetNet and the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) whose research and advocacy for national and international policy change, and empowerment of local member organisations, seek to make such workers more visible in policy and praxis. Their advocacy is a reminder that the solidarity and power of collective action witnessed by the Women’s March remains as relevant and necessary as ever, and that the struggle for gender justice is far from over. A luta continuaDM

Photo: Informal traders with no water or electricity sell food cooked over open fires in a shack at the entrance to the construction site of Soccer City, the venue for the final of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Soweto, South Africa, 16 January 2008. Photo: EPA/JON HRUSA

 

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com