Msunduzi Municipality has promised to shut down an illegal “recycling” business that has sprung up metres from the Ernie Pearce weir below College Road bridge where the Dusi Canoe Marathon will start on February 16.Msunduzi’s mayor, Themba Njilo confirmed yesterday that he recently visited the site and after consulting with the parks department was able to confirm the operation is illegal. “I have taken personal interest in the matter and started investigating. During my walkabout around the city earlier last month, I saw the area and questioned the people who were on the site,” said Njilo. With the Dusi Canoe Marathon only a few weeks away, the dump, which is a few metres away from the river, sparked concerns over hygiene. “They told me they were there on a temporary basis. I was not expecting them to be there for a long time. They told me they were doing recycling. I had an instant feeling that the business should not have operated there in the first place,” he said.The municipality considers this an “emergency” and intends to act. Njilo said he is busy trying to locate the owner of the business so immediate action can be taken. “On my visit there, they [ the employees] couldn’t get me the contact details of the owner but I have taken it upon myself to find him. As soon as we locate him, we will proceed to close down the business,” he said. When The Witness visited the area this week there were broken bottles lying all over the ground, some stashed in sacks and packed boxes that seemed ready to be transported. There is a shack on the site that is used by people working there. One of them asked that the owner be contacted to give official comment about the business but attempts by The Witness to locate the man based on information provided by the workers also failed.Illegal dumping is a criminal offence under the city’s bylaws but is a problem that appears to be escalating.Njilo said the Dusi Canoe Marathon generates a lot of money for the city. “We want to assure the public that when Dusi starts, the area will be clear so everyone can enjoy the event without having to be concerned over hygiene issues,” he said.Njilo said he was (generally) delighted with the progress being made in terms of keeping Pietermaritzburg clean, and said the municipality is working tirelessly to ensure the city is ready ahead of the Dusi marathon.He appealed to members of the public to work together to keep the city clean. Anyone wishing to report illegal dumping can contact 080 000 81866 or the parks department on 033 392 3500.