Illegal dumping threatens Umgeni
Environmental volunteers angered by rubble and industry waste along the river banks
SOME parts of Durban’s Umgeni River are polluted with waste from an illegal dumping site on its banks.
It is believed that local businesses were responsible for dumping their rubbish near Kwadabeka Township which then flowed into the river.
This has angered environmental volunteers such as ubuhle Beningi, a local co-operative group organised by MK veterans from Clermont. They took it upon themselves to rehabilitate the river.
Group member Thamsanqa Zindela said for the past two years they had tried to bring about change in the area after they noticed that the river was a tourist attraction, especially during the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon.
But their efforts were ruined by the illegal dumpers. Zindela claimed that truck drivers – possibly from industries in Pinetown and New Germany – who were “too lazy to drive to the dumping site” were responsible for the mess.
The litter included rubble, broken tiles, plastic pipes and polyesters which posed a danger to them and the marine life.
“Plastic and polyesters are very dangerous because they don’t decompose. The sad part is that all the waste that is being dumped here ends up in the sea, this area is just a few meters from the lagoon,” he said.
Part of the group’s activities are to remove waste from the river, rehabilitate forests and clear hectares of land along the river where other locals have grown crops. Other residents living close to the river who are also using a portion of the land said they were not responsible for the waste there.
Resident Vuyile Ngalo who grows vegetables along the river banks, said their crops were also destroyed by illegal dumping.
“We do not know their intentions, but it’s clear that people are using this land. The vacant land belongs to the municipality but it is our responsibility as people who live close by to make sure it is taken care of.”
When City Watch visited the site, there was a pile-up of waste, including cardboard and paper.
Construction waste, cables, concrete stones and ceramic tiles were also discarded.
Ward councillor Andreas Mvubu said he addressed the matter with the waste and transport department and they had agreed to barricade the area.
“We have asked nearby residents to always be alert and immediately report when they see these trucks. The city has agreed to barricade the area so no vehicles will be able to go close to the site to dump”, said Mvubu.
City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the municipality would send officials from the waste department to investigate and clear the area.
“We urge the community to help stop this illegal dumping by reporting anyone who is seen dumping on any site that is not identified for waste dumping,” he said.
A LOCAL environmental activist group is concerned about the illegal dumping near Umgeni River in the western parts of Durban which ends up in the sea. | SIBONISO MNGADI