Smelly landfills make locals very angry
FURIOUS residents and property owners are demanding that stern action be taken against a Joburg company running a smelly landfill that has forced some to contemplate shutting down their businesses and devalued homes.
Interwaste, a landfill company which runs rubbish sites, is accused of making life a living hell for both factory workers around the Wynberg/Kew/Alexandra areas and property owners in Midrand.
The smell has become so bad that factories are unable to rent out their premises and people in Midrand are failing to find buyers for their properties.
Luigi Stravino, who runs a plant in Kew, and who speaks on behalf of all neighbouring factory owners, says the facility was set up over the December/January period without any of their consent.
The location is at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Wynberg Road.
“The stench from the landfill is absolutely unbearable. We cannot open windows. Our staff have downed tools several times as they say they cannot eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner with the smell. They already had a protest by marching to the landfill but nothing was done. They are threatening another march. Besides our staff, we have customers who visit these premises and it is unacceptable that they have to put up with this smell.
“Basically, we have tried all non-invasive methods to address the issue with Interwaste but the company has dismissed us on every approach. They are a big public company and we have to deal with their lawyer who treats us like his refuse. I have all the neighbours supporting this initiative. The odour, dust and flies coming from this business is unbearable and we really need some assistance to stop this injustice,” he added.
“There is a lady in the street who has run a restaurant in the area and is now losing business because of the smell,” he said, adding that all businesses in the area are suffering.
Rick Raven, a town planner employed by the businesses, confirmed that a noxious industry is a use that is not permitted under an “Industrial 1” zoning.
In Midrand, there are similar problems.
Janet Schofield, speaking for residents, said that in the middle of 2014 members of the residents’ committees from Glen Austin, Randjesfontein and Midstream were aware of strong obnoxious odours which originated from the FG Landfill site.
“Many residents were experiencing certain health problems, especially coughs and respiratory conditions.”
The Department of Environmental Affairs was contacted and ordered to shut the facility down, but the company appealed and the judge left it up to the minister to decide on its fate, said Schofield.
In addition, the effects on animals such as horses, dogs and cats are being noticed by many local vets and there are reports of large numbers of birds dying.
One significant comment made during a meeting at the Public Protector’s office was that the Department of Environmental Affairs has very little control over what goes into landfill sites. This is because, at the end of 2013, the minister of that department saw fit to amend the Waste Management Act, without conducting any environmental impact assessment or gathering information on how this would affect pollution.
ODOUR CURE: Pictures supplied by the waste company show the progress apparently being made at the depot to clean up the place.