Lit­ter out­rage

Calls for mu­nic­i­pal­ity, de­part­ments to act in Ko­mani

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

LIVE­STOCK graz­ing among refuse, a pol­luted river flow­ing through the Ko­mani CBD, ram­pant il­le­gal dump­ing out­side the town’s refuse tip in Ez­i­be­leni and in res­i­den­tial ar­eas – these are but some of the waste chal­lenges fac­ing the area.

The Rep re­ported (’Drown­ing in filth’, Au­gust 11’) that the en­try points to Ez­i­be­leni were be­com­ing a land­scape filled with refuse due to il­le­gal dump­ing.

Pen­sioner Mmeli Six­aba, whose home is in Ez­i­be­leni al­though he cur­rently lives in East Lon­don, said the scene which greeted him dur­ing a re­cent visit was “dis­gust­ing and de­press­ing.

“The grass is brown be­cause of the drought and there is garbage all over. We first moved to Ez­i­be­leni in 1978 and it has never been this dirty. I am not say­ing it was the clean­est, but never has it reached these pro­por­tions. The [Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal] mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, such as the depart­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs, are fail­ing. They are sup­posed to clean that area, but what I saw there was a health haz­ard.”

Six­aba said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and rel­e­vant de­part­ments were not the only ones to blame, how­ever, as the res­i­dents also needed to take pride and own­er­ship of their en­vi­ron­ment.

“This is some­thing that should be started with pupils at school. Schools should be clean and par­ents should teach chil­dren to be clean in their homes – but even there the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is fail­ing to ed­u­cate the peo­ple about the im­por­tance of keep­ing their en­vi­ron­ment clean.”

He said more bins and skips should be pro­vided for waste dis­posal and that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity should work with the busi­ness sec­tor to find a so­lu­tion.

Dur­ing a trip along the routes to Ez­i­be­leni, The Rep re­porter saw a bakkie stop and a man off-load­ing garbage bags next to the road. Live­stock were graz­ing among the refuse – a known risk to their di­ges­tive sys­tems.

Linda Nini, who is from Ez­i­be­leni but works in Stut­ter­heim, said the sit­u­a­tion was un­bear­able.

“I thought it was due to the mu­nic­i­pal strike that it was so dirty, but it has just been get­ting worse – even since the strike ended. The dig­nity of the peo­ple of Ez­i­be­leni is be­ing dragged through the mud.

“Pol­lu­tion is un­ac­cept­able and it has a neg­a­tive im­pact on the com­mu­nity.”

She called on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to take a lead­ing role by col­lect­ing and re­mov­ing the waste and to cre­ate aware­ness pro­grammes for re­cy­cling.

“The sit­u­a­tion could lead to se­ri­ous health haz­ards.”

The Rep also vis­ited West­bourne where dumped refuse was found near the Ko­mani River.

The river has long been a con­tentious point and de­spite a R20-mil­lion clean-up a cou­ple of years ago, re­mains pol­luted.

Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Fundile Feket­shane con­firmed that The Rep’s query had been sent to the rel­e­vant of­fi­cials for com­ment but at the time of go­ing to press, no re­ply had been re­ceived.

Queries have also been sent to the en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs depart­ment, the depart­ment of agri­cul­ture and forestry, the Green Scor­pi­ons and the Institute of Zero Waste in Africa which will form part of a fol­low-up re­port to be pub­lished at a later date.

Pic­ture: SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

SHOCK­ING SIGHT: Heaps of refuse pile up along the road en route to Ez­i­be­leni

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