OUR VIEWPOINT: Asbestos tiles leave sickening legacy

2015-06-29 13:24
Illegal dump in Phayiphini.

Illegal dump in Phayiphini. (File)

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BESIDES the wide scale, devastating damage on that day, the supercell hailstorm of February 6 has left a lingering legacy. But it could easily have been avoided if residents and businesses had been responsible about disposing of the broken tiles and debris left after the storm.

A massive hazardous dump site, littered with broken asbestos rooftiles, has sprung up just over the hill from Prestbury in Phayiphini. The site is sickening on many levels.

City bylaws, which state that dumping is prohibited except at registered landfill sites, have been flagrantly disregarded by those who have taken their rubble there. The pervading culture of “rules don’t apply to me” that drove people to do this is reprehensible.

The very real threat of illness to those living around the dump, as a result of dangerous asbestos being dumped in their immediate surrounds, is of great concern. Going hand in hand with this is the physical polluting of the water course that runs in the valley where the debris has been dumped. This stream forms part of the catchment area for one of the main tributaries of the Ashdown River, and eventually links into the Duzi. This water is used for irrigation, washing and drinking water for stock amongst other uses.

What is hugely disquieting is the attitude of those who believe that dumping on someone else’s doorstep is acceptable. Instead of littering and fouling the upmarket areas that they reside in, because it would be unsightly, they take their rubbish elsewhere and leave it there for the surrounding residents to have to look at and deal with. At least some of those who dumped the asbestos tiles there, must have known they are inherently dangerous. At least some must have realised that someone else would have to clear their rubbish away at great cost.

The area around Phayiphini is sadly not the only site of illegal dumping around the city. The greenbelt hides from view the furtive dumpers of waste. Shop-fitting debris, building material, plastic and household rubbish are routinely flung out of vehicles. Those who are dumping illegally must adopt a responsible attitude of civic responsibility and dispose of their rubbish as if everywhere is their property

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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