Waste pickers stand against municipality

2015-11-18 06:00
PHOTO: supplied  Waste pickers at the entrance to the landfill site.

PHOTO: supplied Waste pickers at the entrance to the landfill site.

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CHOAS broke out yesterday at the New England Road landfill site following­ a protest by the waste pickers after articles published in various newspapers reported that Msunduzi­ Municipality would chase them from the site with pellet or paintball guns.

Waste pickers, Bobby Peek, groundWork director and Musa Chamane groundWork waste campaigner were arrested.

In the early hours of yesterday morning waste pickers got together at the landfill site blocking the entrance to the municipal refuse truck site.

Initially about 30 waste pickers blocked the entrance, sang songs and held posters which told of their unhappiness with the treatment they receive from the municipality.

Sources at the scene said the waste pickers were not planning to leave the area until they were addressed by Mayor Chris Ndlela however, sources allege that the municipality said they would not be addressing them as they were not invited to.

A memorandum was sent to the municipality after 3pm on Tuesday, 10 November.

Protesters took to burning wood and dried trees at the entrance of the landfill site.

When police arrived protesters wielded sticks and refused to vacate­ the area.

It is alleged that the police used gas and rubber bullets to clear the area however, after running for cover­, the protesters returned, which is when they were arrested.

The road to and from the landfill site was closed for a short time while police tried to contain the protest. The fire department were also on site.

A press release circulated by groundWork stated that the protest is a culmination of a “longstanding failure of the municipality to build a materials recovery facility (MRF)”.

The organisation stated that this was not the first action taken by the waste pickers.

“It is at the landfill where waste pickers derive income, save the municipality­ space at the landfill and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by recycling and limiting what waste is left to decompose. Waste pickers aid in combating climate change,” according to the release.

The issue remains unresolved at the time of going to print yesterday .

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