Revamp for landfill

2019-10-15 16:13
Tip pickers sift through the piles of rubbish blocking the New England road dump on Tuesday.

Tip pickers sift through the piles of rubbish blocking the New England road dump on Tuesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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MayorMzimkhulu Thebolla announced on Monday that the New England Road landfill is to be revamped to improve safety conditions and comply with its waste management licence.

Improvements include controlling access by repairing the palisade fencing in sections where it has been removed, allowing anyone to come and go from the dump without the management knowing. This would be done in the next few weeks, the mayor said.

The municipality is also improving the lighting around the property and very soon there would be cameras installed to monitor activities within the site.

“We are also going to make the sure that the recycling section starts operating soon because it’s already there and we want those who are into recycling to be able to use it,” said Thebolla.

He said the weighbridge would also be fixed so that vehicles go across it when they enter and exit.

The mayor and City’s management also said at a press briefing yesterday that Msunduzi is investigating the cause of the “suspicious” seven-day fire at the dump which engulfed Pietermaritzburg in a cloud of smoke last week.

Acting municipal manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo said the fire started on the Friday and was put out, but there were other incidents on Saturday and again on Sunday. She said this created concerns on the side of the municipality which warranted an investigation.

Ngcobo said she recently received an updated list from the Department of Environmental Affairs about the compliance issues that the City needed to address and the process to deal with them had already started.

She said there was also a municipal infrastructure grant that would assist in the rehabilitation of the dump.

“There is a lot that is going to happen in a short space of time, we want to have achieved at least 60% of the targets in the next few weeks.”

On the contentious location of the landfill next to residential areas and so close to the city centre, general manager for community services Boniwe Zulu said Msunduzi inherited the facility, which was established more than 30 years ago.

She suspected that at the time, when the site was identified for landfilling, the neighbouring properties had not been considered for residential developments. “We now need to find a way to ensure that it is safe for the communities and that is why there are buffer zones that are being implemented, like planting trees, so that whatever is happening at the landfill site does not affect the community.”

Zulu said the fires at the dump were often caused by gases generated by the waste, but there were control measures. However, she said, Msunduzi faced a challenge with the wastepickers and needed to find a way of working with them, like having a designated recycling area for them to operate in.

On the possible closure of the site, Thebolla was of the view that Msunduzi needed to look into scientific ways of prolonging its lifespan, such as converting waste to energy.

The City also thanked the people of Msunduzi, neighbouring municipalities and the business community for lending a hand in the firefighting efforts as well as donating food and essentials to those who were at the forefront of the inferno.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  new england road dump

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