Howick litterprotest launched

2012-04-23 00:00

FED up that municipal concrete rubbish bins in the town have not been emptied for two years, the Concerned Ratepayers’/Residents’ Group of Howick (CRG) has taken action.

This is the first step in a rolling protest campaign against the lack of service delivery on the part of the uMngeni Municipality.

On Saturday the CRG members planted red and black posters in the overflowing rubbish bins throughout the town.

The posters read “Danger, rubbish, please empty.”

The residents handed out leaflets to businesses and pedestrians explaining their action.

CRG chairperson Rorie Anderson said the bins had not been properly emptied since they were installed.

“This is symbolic of the degradation that afflicts the municipality in general.

“The rotting contents of the bins force people to give them a wide berth because of the smell. They are infested with cockroaches and attract vermin. All of this represents a serious health hazard,” Anderson said

Tim Lindsay-White, Democratic Alliance councillor for Ward 5, which takes in half of the business district, said he sympathised with the community having to stage such a dramatic protest in order to be heard.

“The new leadership of the town listens, but it does not hear,” he said.

Lindsay-White said that month after month the technical services cluster portfolio committee had been called on to ensure the bins were emptied, but to no avail.

In the case of the concrete rubbish bins, it had brought to the council’s attention that their impractical design prohibited them from ever being attended to properly.

“The height of most people prevents them ever emptying more than a third of the contents,” Lindsay-White said.

Residents pointed out that the unemptied bins were a health hazard not only to members of the public, but also to the workers who were required to clear them.

CRG members said the contents of one bin revealed an ox’s head, broken fluorescent tubes that presented the threat of mercury poisoning, and general toxic decay.

Members were also concerned that the waste was a breeding ground for cockroaches and rats that could lead to a vermin infestation of the business centre, invading offices, cars, shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

Anderson said another problem pointed out to the municipality before it went ahead and chopped down the trees in the main street was that the pots that replaced them would become a problem. He said the pots were being used as litter bins and were seldom emptied.

Two years ago some Howick residents chained themselves to the oak trees and tied yellow ribbons around others to protect them from being chopped down.

The irony of littering the CBD with CRG posters does not escape Anderson.

“Illegal signage is another form of pollution and a blight on the town. This has been another issue that the municipality has been called on to attend to, year after year, without success.

The by-laws are simply ignored, not implemented and unmonitored,” he said.

Anderson said the CRG, whose membership is growing, was intent on staging a series of protests to bring attention to the collapse of infrastructure and service delivery.

The issues would inclue the untended cemetery, burst water mains, electricity outages, crumbling roads, non-functioning traffic and street lights, potholes, litter, dumping, missing sewer manhole covers, unmarked roads, missing traffic signs, unkempt verges, broken pavements and damaged stormwater drains.

He said the problems were not cosmetic but were intrinsic to the proper functioning of any town.

uMngeni Mayor Mbali Myeni could not be reached for comment.

Anderson said that by yesterday the CRG posters had been removed from the bins, which, he added, were still overflowing.

A resident suggested the containers should be filled with soil and be planted with flowers.

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