At least four illegal dumping sites in ward 34 have been turned into vegetable gardens or play lots for children, to counter the illegal dumping taking place there.The ward, which incorporates Eastwood and Cinderella Park, has been plagued by illegal dumping.Ward councillor Mike Amod said he had written to the deputy minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thompson, after noticing an increase in illegal dumping. “We are slowly winning the battle. We have sites that have been turned into gardens and play lots for children. That discourages people from continuing to dump in these areas because they know that children are playing in that lot or there is a garden there.“We have a team of volunteers who go out to clean these sites and look after the gardens. The programme is being funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs.”He said the programme has started in Eastwood and is now spreading to other parts of the ward, including Cinderella Park. In an interview with The Witness, deputy minister Barbara Thompson said she was exploring the idea of having more buy-back centres in the province.“We need these centres so people can sell their waste. People also need to be trained on recycling. It is quite a lucrative business and people need to be taught how to separate waste and what can be sold. People are throwing money away.”Thompson said the constant fires at the New England Road landfill site were a result of an over reliance on dumping sites.She said illegal dumping was an environmental crime. “Children go out there to play and they will inhale that pollution. It also downgrades the land. It should not be allowed to happen, especially in urban areas where municipalities offer refuse collection services every week,” she said.Thompson encouraged residents to confront the dumpers.