Metro carrying out major clean-up and awareness campaign in Missionvale
The metro is busy unblocking drains in Missionvale’s Mackay’s Ground informal settlement where The Herald last month revealed a plague of mosquitos was terrorising residents.
A check-up this week showed big piles of rubbish and rubble cleared out of the drainage lines around the festering vlei off lower Congo Avenue, which was the epicentre of the problem.
The vlei is blanketed in rubbish dumped by some of the Mackay’s Ground residents and people further afield, ruining its natural water purification function and turning it instead into a cesspit – and a perfect nursery for mosquitos to breed.
Metro spokesman Mthubabanzi Mniki confirmed the clean-up in the area yesterday and said it was part of a wider programme.
“We currently have a programme of unblocking drains. The programme was launched in Uitenhage last year.
“It is done through the Extended Public Works Programme and complements work that is already being done by the roads and stormwater directorate,” he said.
Asked about keeping the drains clear in the long run, he said the clean-up was being implemented together with awareness programmes, using public participation meetings and media platforms.
Some of the residents said the dumping was the work of irresponsible members of their community, while other residents said it was happening because the municipal refuse removal system was not working.
Asked about this, Mniki said the weekly pick-ups were happening as scheduled.
“It is only when there are truck breakdowns that the weekly collection is disrupted – and residents are informed of such breakdowns.”
The metro was facing a broader challenge regarding illegal dumping and an action plan to deal with the problem was due to be launched in two weeks time, he said.
While the unblocking of drains is under way, apparently sparked by the weekend rains, nearby land between Colorado and Bethelsdorp roads was awash with leaking sewage on Monday.
Asked about this yesterday, Mniki said the metro’s sanitation sub-directorate would be informed and would investigate.
Meanwhile, most Mackay’s Ground residents have welcomed the proposal that bat boxes should be built to encourage bats – which are voracious consumers of mosquitos – into the area.
Resident Priscilla Linganiso, 73, said she had heard the story that “bats eat your hair.
“But I cannot sleep at night because of the mosquitos. Bats are better. Anyway, I wear a doek.”
Sindile Sonke, 40, said he doubted that bats were the solution and warned they would indeed “eat the hair of the people”.
Ludumo Metshile, 32, said while bats might be a long-term solution, an immediate remedy like spraying insectide was needed.
However, Noma Baatjies, 24, said she thought the mosquito-munching bats were a good idea and Desmond Abrahams, 54, agreed, saying the story of bats targeting human hair was “just stories”.