Residents smoked out and fed up

“WE cannot take this anymore.”

These are the words of Sobantu residents who live opposite the Msunduzi Municipality’s landfill site.

The residents were again affected by smoke that came from the landfill site on Monday after yet another fire broke out.

Residents say they are tired of always having to breath in the smoke and put up with the ash due to fires regularly breaking out at the landfill.

This is the second fire at the site in less than a month. At the beginning of October, the city was covered in smoke from a fire that took firefighters more than a week to extinguish, forcing five schools to close.

KZN Environmental Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube visited the site at the beginning of October and threated the municipality with a lawsuit if it did not clean up its act. During the visit she stated that the municipality clearly had no control over what was happening after discovering that people work and live on the site, which they should not be allowed to do.

Sobantu resident Nobuhle Nzama said: “It’s not fair to us because we are seriously affected by the smoke. We no longer want that site next to us because clearly the municipality is failing to manage it. They must just close it down.

“Our lives are being put at risk all the time because we inhale the smoke from the landfill site. What about our young children who are taking in this smoke on their way to school in the morning?

Resident Mandla Ngcobo, said: “The municipality does not care about us. The mayor promised to come and meet with us after the last fire but that never happened. No one has ever came to us regarding the landfill site and fires but they know very well that we are the ones affected the most.”

Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo said the municipality became aware of a fire at the New England Landfill Site at around 7.30 am on Monday.

“Firefighters were alerted and immediately attended to it. They were able to stop the fire from spreading and eventually doused it by 7 pm.

“In trying to ensure the safety of the communities, there are buffer zones [where trees are planted] that are continuously being implemented so that communities are not affected when something happens at the landfill site,” she said.

She agreed that the municipality has not met with the community of Sobantu however she said meetings are being convened by the ward councillor.

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