Moving ‘mountains’

2018-05-15 06:00
Ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse visited the Pyrenees Street Park before the rubble was removed. The mountain of waste had accumulated between January and March.

Ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse visited the Pyrenees Street Park before the rubble was removed. The mountain of waste had accumulated between January and March.

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In a matter of days, an open patch of land can become littered with an array of junk.

This is true for many Tafelsig parks, says ward 82 councillor Sheval Arendse, following the recent removal of yet another truckload of illegally dumped waste.

A large heap had accumulated at the Pyrenees Street Park over the span of only three months – a common occurrence, he says.

The plot had been cleaned but within this short period of time had become engulfed by a mountain of waste again.

Several streets are contributing to the accumulation of the illegally dumped waste, including those surrounding the park.

“It is peculiar behaviour, but when it comes to illegal dumping, many people tend to follow the lead of others and simply just dump. Even when others want to speak out, they are told ‘everyone dumps’ and this is and always will be the case of people that know about the crime,” says Arendse.

“This pile of household waste was dumped in Pyrenees Park and included garden cuttings and builder’s rubble dumped in a children’s park. [The pile] grows as others add to it – possibly assuming that it will eventually be removed by the City anyhow, so they tend to take advantage.”

Arendse adds that the general dumping in parks and fields includes household waste, rubble, wood, cement bags and old mattresses­.

He adds that most often, household waste is dumped as a result of being too late for the standard refuse removal.

“[Dumping is a common problem] within ward 82, in each and every park. [Sometimes] residents wake up late and miss the dirt collection trucks. Other times many start pushing their wheelie bins to open spaces on a Sunday evening to dump their waste,” he says.

Shop owners who do not want to buy additional bins are also in the spotlight, as some of them are also responsible for dumping to avoid additional costs, Arendse says.

But this habit could have serious consequences for residents, as fines and possible impoundment face residents who are caught illegally dumping.

“Spot fines are issued to people found dumping and littering. The minimum fine for dumping or littering is R500 and can be as high as R2500. In extreme cases, the matter will go to court and a magistrate will decide the fine,” says Arendse.

The City has also implemented a fine system that will see illegal dumpers having their vehicles impounded. A release fee could cost around R5000 or more.

“Whatever the reasons for dumping, dealing with that bad habit across the City’s 2455 km² area will cost the Solid Waste Management Department a whopping R274m this financial year,” says Arendse.

“While some dumping is inevitable in a growing metropolis, particularly in informal areas where household rubbish collection poses some challenges, that is an appallingly large diversion of funds that could be far better used for more positive cleansing projects. Dumpers are putting their own children at risk by dumping – the children play among the dirt and pick up all kinds of sickness­.”

He says residents should take ownership of their open spaces and put an end to the illegal dumping.

“Drop-off sites are free. The drop-off facilities enable the public to dispose of any garden refuse, small amounts of builder’s rubble and garage waste. The City then transfers appropriate waste to a landfill site and sorts the rest for recycling or reuse. Solid Waste Management appeals to all residents to please manage their waste responsibly and use the services in place. City staff are urged to spread the message and set the example by resisting the urge to dump illegally just because others do,” he says.

V Report illegal dumping to the City of Cape Town call centre on 0860 103 089. If you have a vehicle registration number, pictures of the act or can identify the person responsible, contact 021 400 6157 or solidwaste­


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