Delays in waste collection in the metro is leading to more and more residents having to get rid of the rubbish on their own. While most people opt to take their waste to the city’s dumping sites, some residents take the easy way out – illegal dumping.
Ches van den Berg, a concerned resident of Fleurdal and member of their neighbourhood watch, recently experienced such an ordeal. “It happened in Memoriam Street. A man came with his bakkie and he just dumped all his rubbish next to the road, in front of people’s homes. So a woman walked up to him and said, ‘listen you can’t just do that’,” explained Van den Berg.
The man then told the woman who confronted him that the municipality had not collected the rubbish from his home so now he is just dumping it there to get rid of it. Van den Berg, along with two male volunteers, then decided to take the matter into their own hands and clean up the mess the mysterious man had created.
“We cleaned in front of my house as well as the whole block, and we focused on the side with houses, because we can’t live in this horrible mess. The people continue to just come and just dump. We don’t know why they do it and it looks and smells horrible,” she added.
Van den Berg said they now fear that the area will become an illegal dumping site. She added that she and a few other residents have tried to report the matter to the municipality numerous times.
Mangaung spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, confirmed that the municipality has seen a rise in the appearance of illegal dumping sites. “The Waste Management sub-directorate has a permanent cleaning team that is attending to some of the areas. We normally go to all wards that are highly affected by illegal heaps and do a once-off periodical cleansing. However, communities recreate those areas as permanent dumping sites. We are making an appeal to members of the community to assist the municipality and desist from dumping in areas that are not designated for dumping their household waste,” he said.
He added that although they clean the areas affected, residents continue to dump their rubbish in the same areas, even when they know it’s illegal. “The issue of illegal dumping has rather become a vicious cycle, where we remove and the communities dump on the same day. We do, however, have responsible citizens who are either reporting illegal dumping or preventing those who are attempting to dump close to their homes.”
Khedama said they would continue to educate residents on the importance of keeping the environment clean.