Dumpsites defy Bay war on waste

Illegal dumping curse remains despite millions spent to curb it

Wells Estate resident Susan Stoffels looks through waste in Malinga Street.
Wells Estate resident Susan Stoffels looks through waste in Malinga Street.
Image: Tremaine van Aardt

A culture of illegal dumping continues to plague Nelson Mandela Bay, with not much changing in recent years, despite millions of rands being spent on the war on waste.

Illegal dumping across the city has seen dozens of parks covered in rubbish, numerous roads lined with illegal dumpsites and rolling hills reduced to heaps of refuse.

Everything from old furniture to household appliances and soiled nappies can be seen scattered at some of the illegal dumpsites.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said progress was being made against illegal dumping, but this was often countered by a culture of illegal dumping in the Bay.

Following up on a series of illegal dumping articles written in the past seven years, Weekend Post revisited several sites last week.

The visit showed the bleak reality of areas either being in an equal or worse state as a result of illegal dumping.

In particular, Malinga Street in Wells Estate and Ngeni Street in KwaLanga echoed scenes of the past.

A visit to Malinga Street in 2015 revealed children and pigs rummaging through the rubbish.

On a return visit this week, another resident was also looking through rubbish heaps for anything of value.

While the 2015 visit was centred on a particular dumpsite, several new dumpsites along Malinga Street have since emerged.

The 2016 Ngeni Street visit showed residents who rolled their wheelie bins in plain sight to dump illegally.

This week’s visit revealed residents doing the same thing. However, this time the site itself had widened.

But despite the millions of rands spent and regular refuse collection taking place, little has been done to improve some of the revisited sites.

This includes sites in Wells Estate, Rosedale, Gerald Smith, KwaLanga, Missionvale, Korsten, Helenvale, Schauderville, Walmer and Algoa Park.

In Malinga Street, Wells Estate resident Susan Stoffels, 54, spent Wednesday morning rummaging through the illegal dumpsite dotted along a 2km stretch of road.

“I come out here once a week to see what can I find because everything from couches to even toilets are dumped here.

“There are often usable things. I just have watch for the rats and snakes,” Stoffels said.

In Ngeni Street, KwaLanga resident Bathandwa Mali, 47, said that this week the municipality would clear the illegal dumpsite weekly, but more refuse would be dumped minutes later.

“There needs to be skips set up on this veld and the municipality can simply switch them out fortnightly,” he said.

“Sometimes rubbish gets dumped here by the truckload.

“The closest legal dump is at least 2km away, which is too far to walk,” Mali said.

Weekend Post discovered that residents often returned to previously cleared illegal dump sites to start afresh, sometimes hours after a municipal waste truck leaves the site.

Public health political head Lance Grootboom said there was a misconception among people that littering created jobs.

“This is definitely not the case.

“The mentality and outlook of residents regarding illegal dumping, particularly in the dumping hotspots, need to change,” he said.

Mniki said since the implementation of the war on waste programme in March last year, about 40 fines had been issued monthly on average, amounting to at least R1.1-million.

Also, R7-million has already been spent on the programme, with an additional R7-million budgeted for the next financial year.

Grootboom said some of the major projects in the budget allocation included the employment of 26 illegal dumping officers to monitor individual wards, signage, campaign awareness, the continual clearing of illegal dumpsites with tipper trucks and bulldozers as well as employing about 350 litter pickers.

He said the municipality was also discussing increasing spot fines to a maximum of R10 000 and possibly impounding vehicles.

The public health executive director post has also been vacant for more than a year.

This, after former public health executive director Andile Tolom asked to be demoted in December 2016, citing health reasons.

“With regards to the vacant post it does have a negative impact in terms of management and leadership within the portfolio.

“But it doesn’t affect the projects, their roll-out or implementation.”

The post has been re-advertised after the last candidate rejected the offer.

“Even if we were to employee an executive director now it wouldn’t have that much of an impact as the budgets are already allocated and projects being implemented,” Grootboom said.

Giving an example of the culture of illegal dumping, Grootboom said when he visited Leyland Street, North End, this week on an oversight visit, a resident had dumped refuse on the pavement in front of him.

“The resident was fined R2 000 on the spot and was ordered to remove the rubbish,” he said.

Mniki said Nelson Mandela Bay had two landfill sites, namely Arlington tip in Walmer and Koedoeskloof tip in Uitenhage, as well as 20 smaller transfer stations around the metro.

“[The] master plan has been developed to cater for where there is a need and if land is available for future development sites,” he said.