Shutdown of landfill site sought

2017-04-04 06:02
EnviroServ Shongweni landfill site.PHOTO: Sourced

EnviroServ Shongweni landfill site.PHOTO: Sourced

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THE Democratic Alliance will seek to speed up the shutdown of the hazardous Shongweni landfill site, operated by Enviroserv, by escalating this matter to national Parliament.

According to Ann McDonnell MPL - DA KZN Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs, the move comes after a press briefing held by the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Wednesday, during which it was announced that the closure of the site was being seriously considered.

She said that during the press briefing it was also revealed that:

•Enviroserv is responsible for the stench hanging over the Upper Highway

•That it was supposed to manage the situation and failed to do so

•That Enviroserv is currently facing four criminal charges (the department could not advise of the exact charges) and will be appearing in court on 11 April

•That Enviroserv did not give correct information to the department which had in turn led to the DEA assuming everything was fine

•That the explanation given by Enviroserv, that the smell was caused by amendments to the laws allowing low levels of waste (PH levels), was false

“The DEA also confirmed that activity at some sections of the site had already been temporarily suspended. It also stated that should the entire site be shut down, it would take some four and a half months for the smell to go away.

The DA is committed to lobbying for the closure of this hazardous landfill. We will also be monitoring all processes to ensure legislative compliance from Enviroserv.

“To this end, a DA inter-governmental delegation, including National Environmental Affairs MP, Johni Edwards, KZN Environmental Affairs MPL, Ann McDonnell and local DA Councillor, Gillian Noyce will go ahead with a planned visit to the landfill site and neighbouring communities today. The DA is committed to ensuring both legislative compliance and absolute transparency hereon from both Enviroserv and the Department of Environmental Affairs at both provincial and national level,” she added.

However, EnviroServ Group said that despite recent reports to the contrary, the current criminal charges that have been laid are against EnviroServ as a company. To date, the company has not received any further charges.

These charges relate to the odour problems experienced at the Shongweni Landfill since April last year.

“We are currently engaged in an extended six month plan, tabled with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the community, which we are confident will mitigate the issue,” said EnviroServ Group CEO, Dean Thompson.

“We have and will continue to engage with our legal counsel prior the case being heard on 11 April.

“We continue to operate a legally-compliant site and believe that our track record of being a leading responsible waste management company will be upheld.”- Supplied.

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