Environmental Services

Reusing wooden crates to benefit local communities in Limpopo

Reusing wooden crates to benefit local communities in Limpopo

Many projects which NCC manage generate a fair amount of reuseable waste, which is often encouraged to be redistributed to the community to benefit the surrounding areas. Caspa Neluheni, working on a project in Limpopo, shares his story of redistribution to a local school.

The Ventia Underground Project (VUP) which I am currently contracted to is located within the DeBeers Venetia mine. The project is located in the Limpopo Province, with the closest towns being Aldays (75km South) and Musina (90 km East).

Venetia operates an ISO 14001 accredited Environmental Management System (EMS) and within the requirements of not only 14001 but also the Environmental Authorisation (EA) issued by Department of Mineral Resources. Due to these requirements, Venetia has a strictly controlled waste management system where various waste types are collected and stored in a dedicated waste area from where it is permitted to leave the mine for various disposal or recycling options.

CONCO, the company which I am contracted to, is responsible for the construction of the substation for the VUP and all the equipment which is installed is packaged and shipped in wooden crates to protect the equipment from damage. The packaging is deemed as waste after the equipment is installed and the waste is then taken to the mine’s waste management area for sorting and disposal.

I once got a lift from a person delivering fire wood to the local school in Aldays for their feeding scheme.  With this in mind I managed to convince the mines environmental department to compromise a bit on their procedures for the sake of sustainability by allowing CONCO to give the untreated wooden planks to the Aldays combined school instead of sending them for disposal.

The Aldays combined school is the only school in the small town of Aldays where I reside. The school comprises of a primary and secondary school which are located in different parts of the town but are managed as one school. The school has a feeding scheme that, according to the principal Mr Seremola, feeds over 1000 learners a day. The one load of planks which we delivered to the school on the first day provided fire wood for at least two weeks. In total close to ten loads of waste wood was delivered to the school during the duration of the project. This benefits both the school and puts less strain on the local landfill.

The reusing of waste wood ensured that the school were not reliant on finding fire wood from the surrounding areas or purchasing wood from nearby game farms or informal loggers. The children are taught about recycling and reusing in school and this project gave them the opportunity to witness first-hand the process and its direct benefit to the environment.

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