The cost of illegal dumping

2016-12-08 06:01
 The City spends R350 million each year to clean up illegal dumping.  PHOTO: CITY OF CAPE town

The City spends R350 million each year to clean up illegal dumping. PHOTO: CITY OF CAPE town

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It stinks, it’s unhealthy and – even more scary – it costs the City of Cape Town a whopping R350 million each year.

“It” being illegal dumping, is a topic that grinds many Capetonians as vacant plots across the city can be seen filled with discarded waste creating a health risk for all.

In this week’s edition of Municipal Matters, City Vision speaks to Mayco member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, to find out more.

Sonnenberg explains illegal dumping is the unlawful disposal of construction debris, old appliances, furniture, as well as general household, commercial and industrial waste in places other than permitted facilities such as the City’s drop-off sites and landfills.

He says as the City provides a highly reliable refuse collection service 365 days a year and 25 drop-off facilities across the city, there is no excuse for dumping waste illegally in suburbs and next to roads.

“The City has several solid waste drop-off sites where residents can safely dispose of their waste at no cost. Those using contractors to dispose of their waste, must ensure the contractors are disposing of the waste and rubble in a responsible manner without damage to people or the environment.”

So how big is the problem in Cape Town? Sonnenberg says illegal dumping is widespread throughout the city – so much so that approximately R350 million of the rates budget is spent clearing dumped material from City land each year.

Among the top dumping sites in the Impuma District are Mew Way and Oscar Mpetha Road in Khayelitsha

What makes the act of dumping your trash illegal? Sonnenberg says it is illegal due to the probable impact on the health of affected communities, possible degradation of the environment, the nuisance value for affected communities, and the impact on municipal infrastructure such as creating potential for blockages of the stormwater or sewerage networks.

When tackling perpetrators, the City makes use of the Integrated Waste Management bylaw, the Environmental Health bylaw and the national Environmental Management Act, while the fine imposed on guilty parties depends on the quantity and nature of waste dumped.

“It ranges from R500 to R5 000, and the magistrate can levy a larger fine if they see fit. Furthermore, individuals found guilty of using their vehicle for illegal dumping, with that vehicle having been seized and impounded, will need to pay a tariff for its release – the value of which will increase for the first three offences.

“A guilty party will have to fork out R7 500 to have the vehicle released for the first offence, R10 000 for the second, and R15 000 for the third. Each subsequent impoundment fee will have a value of R15 000. This will be the case unless ordered otherwise by the court,” says Sonnenberg.

In the period between 29 January and 27 November, the City has impounded a total of 17 vehicles.

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