‘Stop the dumping’

2019-01-22 06:00
Residents in Pelican Park are concerned with the continued illegal dumping.

Residents in Pelican Park are concerned with the continued illegal dumping.

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Ongoing illegal dumping on open piece of land in Pelican Park has residents breathing in the stench which emanates from its remains.

Strong summer winds have exacerbated the situation, but while ward councillor for the area Gerry Gordon confirms the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste Department has visited and cleaned the area in the past, the area does not remain clean for too long.

“The issue here is that dumping was logged in 14th and 15th avenues and then the fact of the matter is that there were collections done, but as soon as collections are done, the next thing is that we find some more bags being dumped. It happens all the time. The people dump, we clean up and the next thing is that it is clean for not even an hour and we find that dumping has taken place. The City, in all its might, tries to get around to all the dumping, but again, a lot of the dumping is done by the community themselves,” says Gordon.

One resident, Yushra Adams, says she has helped report illegal dumping, but feels her pleas to have alternative measures put in place have fallen on deaf ears.

“From the first time that I moved in here, I asked the previous ward councillor to zone an area out for people to dump into different containers. The first councillor did not listen to me and now, on the first two occasions, the community cleaned the place themselves last year, but the dumping is still taking place. There are no signs in some of these places to say they must not dump there,” says Adams, who adds that the worst hit area is in 14th Avenue near the grocery store, with another dumping hotspot on the corner of Tinkerbird Street and Starling Road.

“These sites are close to the houses and the people are inhaling all these fumes. I lodged complaints on two occasions, because the councillor normally says the community must lodge the complaints themselves. She requested that the community must lodge the complaints and forward the reference numbers to her so that she can escalate it,” adds Adams.

Gordon implores residents to get in touch via information found on leaflets she has been distributing throughout the area and asks residents who do not have the means to communicate digitally to get in touch with their neighbours who are in a position to report dumping.

“We are aware that quite a lot of our people are under the breadline, but they can get their neighbours to let the councillor know. There are many avenues and they do know that,” says Gordon.

Meanwhile, Adams is also concerned about the safety risk the area poses.

“Last year, a lady was robbed there, because there are very high bushes, and a lady was nearly raped there because some people go through there in the mornings to the bus stop. It is a danger zone,” she says.

However, Gordon points out that clearing the area’s vegetation has its own set of challenges and that despite the cycle, the City will return to clear the area of rubbish.

“That is an environmental space. Some of those trees you cannot cut down. They do clean there as well. What has taken place there is that there are bags people have dropped there. Dogs and other people open the bags, and we have had gale-[force] winds the past couple of days, and that it has been strewn all over the place. We keep on saying that people shouldn’t be dumping, that they should be putting it in their bins, but unfortunately people don’t. We’ve logged it and the City will be out there again,” Gordon confirms.

Adams suggests the City put measures in place to deter dumping while also cutting out a few steps in the process where residents won’t need to report illegal dumping.

“I feel they must have the big bins so people can put their dirt in there and the sector of solid waste can come on a certain day to clean that place on a regular basis, so that they don’t have to wait for us to lodge a complaint. I did my part as a resident and I feel that this is falling on deaf ears because the City does not take me seriously and the councillor does not understand my pain. In partnership, if the City wants to work with us as partners, they can form a committee where we elect people in the communities looking to clean the communities, report illegal dumping and making sure they can bring the people to book. If the community, who is doing us a favour by writing off registration numbers of cars who are dumping there, do our bit and report it to the law enforcement, then it may help.”

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