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Challenges and opportunities for sustainable solid waste management in private nature reserves: The case of Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa

Claudine Roos, Reece C. Alberts, Francois P. Retief, Dirk P. Cilliers, William Hodgson, Iain Olivier

Abstract: The mismanagement of waste in protected areas may lead to significant and irreversible environmental, economic and social impacts, such as land degradation, resource depletion, surface and groundwater pollution, loss of biodiversity and impacts on the aesthetic value of these areas. This paper aims to identify the challenges and opportunities for sustainable solid waste management in privately protected areas, given the limited research conducted on this topic. A case study approach was followed, which focused on the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, a private nature reserve (PNR) in South Africa. Interviews were conducted with 30 participants, which included representatives from the management authority, commercial lodges, non-commercial properties and a waste service provider. Several challenges have been identified by interviewees. Behaviour was the most frequently mentioned challenge, where interviewees raised concerns about negative attitudes, unwillingness to implement waste management measures and a possible lack of support. Other frequently mentioned challenges included foreseen difficulties due to the size and location of the reserve and concerns around funding of waste management measures, especially given the financial implications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) travel and tourism restrictions. The most frequently identified opportunities included creating jobs and improving livelihoods, providing assurance and transparency of what happens to waste ‘beyond the gate’ and improving awareness, knowledge and skills related to waste management. To optimise the opportunities towards sustainable solid waste management, PNRs should focus on aligning their strategic direction to achieve legal compliance and support community initiatives to establish waste-related infrastructure and services that cannot be implemented within the reserve. Conservation implications: The pursuit of waste-related opportunities within privately protected areas could enhance the implementation of sustainable solid waste management in PNRs, whilst also contributing to pollution prevention, community upliftment and other secondary benefits, which could ultimately result in increased conservation efforts.
Keywords: privately protected areas / Africa / waste management / opportunities for sustainable solid waste

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