Illegal dump­ing threat­ens Um­geni

En­vi­ron­men­tal volunteers an­gered by rub­ble and in­dus­try waste along the river banks

Sunday Tribune - - METRO -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.