Food rots at refuse sites

2010-03-30 00:00

GARDEN refuse sites in various parts of Pietermaritzburg have been reduced to illegal dumping grounds that pose serious health risks.

In one of the most serious cases, uncontrolled illegal dumping that has been an ongoing problem for the past month has reduced the two-way road bordering the South Road garden refuse site into one lane.

When The Witness arrived on scene, there was so much rubbish overflowing from inside the premises that it spewed out on to the street.

Flies buzzed everywhere, while ants and maggots feasted on discarded foodstuffs fermenting in the sweltering heat.

Two taxis, one going up and one going down, had to swerve to avoid a collision and the frustrated drivers swore at each other.

Ash Haripersadh, whose home is a stone’s throw away, said the site is practically in his back yard, and it is nothing short of an embarrassment.

“I’ve been campaigning for its removal since 2003 with no luck. These flies even fly into our windows and recent visitors from abroad left with a very bad impression,” he said.

Ramesh Ramarak, whose home is 100 metres away from the site, complained that the two municipal refuse site workers are never on duty, yet they are getting paid.

Rennie Marie, another resident, said ward councillor Les Naidoo has been manhandled by other residents, who blame him for the appalling state of the site. Marie said it is not the residents of the area who are abusing the site, but they have to bear the the consequences.

Some residents have even threatened to torch the place to solve the problem, he said.

Naidoo said he empathises with residents and has contacted various departments to report the matter, but the situation persists.

“The sad part is that there’s a church two metres away from the dump. Directly opposite that there’s a supermarket, which is 300 metres away, and there are also houses surrounding the area,” he said.

Naidoo said he wants to make representations so that the site can be moved to a more suitable area.

He said people are discarding items that are not garden refuse such as packets of dead chickens and rotting eggs, which pose a serious health hazard in the blazing heat.

Naidoo said he will also deal with the matter of the absent employees.

Msunduzi Municipality spokeswoman Ntobeko Ngcobo said they are aware of the matter, and are going to attend to it.

“Progress may be slow due to the challenge that we are experiencing with our fleet. However, with the cooperation of other business units within the council, we are certain that the work of clearing the dump sites will be completed as soon as possible.

“We sincerely apologise to members of the public for the inconvenience caused,” she said.

• Numerous complaints have been received from dissatisfied ratepayers who report that garden skips at the Old Howick Road and Prestbury garden refuse sites have not been emptied for weeks.

Ngcobo said the municipality is aware of the matter. “Our fleet problem is affecting refuse collection, garden-site clearing and the emptying of skips. The progress is thus slow. As we collect, more refuse is dumped. However, we are working as hard as we can with limited resources to deal with the situation,” she said.

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