A letter from the mayor to residents

2016-06-14 06:00

Dear eThekwini residents,

I AM writing to you to share my concerns about the low levels of environmental management in our City and encourage all of us to work harder at fighting against pollution and environmental degradation.

Even though our municipality is a global leader in aspects of environmental management, the quality of our natural environment continues to decline in the face of multiple threats like urbanisation and urban sprawl, pollution, invasive alien species, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources and climate change.

Litter and illegal dumping is a cause for major concern. It seems as though the state of litter and pollution in residential areas and the Central Business District has increased. Pollution caused by the inappropriate disposal of waste can also cause health problems.

Globally there is a growing awareness of the foundational importance of the natural environment in reducing risk, enhancing resilience and ensuring sustainable communities in urban areas.

So much of the waste we see being washed up on the shore along our coastline, is plastic that can be recycled. I appeal to you to ensure that in your household, you reduce your waste, reuse what you can and recycle what you don’t need. Every little bit that you do contributes to saving our environment.

The litter that was found washed up on the City’s beaches after the recent floods, does not only affect marine life but the litter along our beaches and waterways destroy the beauty and enjoyment of those areas. This negatively affects tourism and the economic benefits associated with it.

Durban has 17 rivers and estuaries in the metropolitan area. These rivers and estuaries have sensitive ecosystems that need to be protected and conserved as they provide essential environmental goods and services, especially to rural and vulnerable communities.

However, we see an increasing amount of litter that destroys these sensitive ecosystems and causes irreversible damage to the environment. While the City makes every effort to keep our coastline clean, there is no amount of cleaning and policing that can deal with litter if we, as residents, do not change our behaviour on waste management.

Our coastline is one of the key drivers of tourism to our City and its pristine condition needs to be protected. Our coast is also an ideal venue for much needed rest and relaxation for you, our residents. We are fortunate to live along such a beautiful coastline which provides many leisure facilities. Living on the coastline is truly amazing.

The City provides a weekly refuse removal service to 945 000 households in formal and informal areas. We even distribute and collect recyclable material from households with the orange bag system that we have implemented to encourage home owners to recycle. There are numerous recycling centres throughout the metro as well, and at shopping centres. There really is no reason for so much recyclable waste to end up in our water courses.

The City recently implemented nine new by-laws that are aimed at dealing with various offences.

Among these by-laws is the Nuisances and Behaviour in Public Places By-law under which littering is prohibited. Enforcement is already underway and police have begun taking a tough stance against offenders. Already in the past few months Metro Police have written summonses and issued fines to those who contravene the by-laws.

We believe in having thriving communities, and a clean environment is so important in ensuring that we are healthy. Please join us in our quest to have a clean city which we can all enjoy. I am calling on all residents to stop littering, recycle and re-use what you can.

I call on residents to join hands with the City and help us deal with the problem of litter and pollution at the source. To do this, it is crucial that we change the mind-sets of our people and take decisive action against those who break the law.

The Municipality is committed to maintaining a clean environment by utilising all its resources to make it a success. But we cannot do it alone, we need you, our valued residents to be the watchdogs in your communities and help us create a clean City we can all be proud to live in.

In our effort to maintain a clean and sustainable City, we urge residents to continue reporting illegal dumping to 031 311 8804 or 031 311 3336 and be responsible by taking care of the environment.

Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo

It seems as though the state of litter and pollution in residential areas and the Central Business District has increased.

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