RUBBISH is still being burnt illegally at the Marselle/Bushman’s River dump, despite an investigation and on-site visit by the Green Scorpions.
Div de Villiers, senior manager of enforcement and compliance at the provincial Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs (Dedea), confirmed this week that a team of provincial and national Green Scorpions had visited the waste site with officials from Ndlambe municipality on February 17.
“There were a few minor problems on the day of the site visit, but it was clear that the municipality is attempting to address these,” said De Villiers.
He said the municipality had subsequently responded to several questions posed by the national Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Dedea, but he did not reveal the content of the questions or answers.
“DEA and Dedea will make a decision regarding appropriate action in due course.”
Kenton-on-Sea resident David Burr, who has lodged numerous complaints over the health hazards posed by the toxic smoke blowing into residential areas, was unimpressed with De Villiers’ response.
In correspondence to municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni, he pointed out fires had been set at the dump three times since TotT’s initial story on the matter a fortnight ago. One of these fires occurred the day before the Green Scorpions visited the site.
Burr called the fire department and said there was some delay before they attended the blaze.
“However, yet again the fire was not extinguished properly but merely doused with water. The fire continued burning throughout the night and next day,” he said.
In an irony of timing, Burr reported another fire at the dump on February 18, the day after the Green Scorpions visit.
“I travelled to investigate (and) observed three separate deep-seated fires burning garden refuse. The refuse had been bulldozed into a semi-circle to clear the entrance area in preparation the coming week,” he said.
“It is obvious this incineration of waste material is a deliberate policy of Ndlambe municipality in direct contravention of the law and all environmental statutory regulations.”
A third fire took place on Sunday. Burr said it was large and smoke billowed about 60m into the air.
He called the fire department and said they attended but left shortly after with the fire “still burning and emitting large volumes of smoke”.
He called the fire department again to enquire why they had not put out the fire completely. He was astonished at the reply he claims to have received – that they could not put out the fire because it was too big and they would be wasting water.
“Surely it’s time for the municipal manager and his cohorts to stop the nonsense at this dump site and start acting in a responsible manner and abide by the laws which govern the operation of these sites,” said Burr.
Ndlambe municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa did not respond to repeated requests for comment.