Appalling conditions at the Port Alfred dumpsite

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ANYONE who has visited the Port Alfred dumpsite, adjacent to the Marjorie Parrish TB Hospital, would have noticed the amount of refuse scattered outside the gates littering the adjacent area, or the noxious fumes that emanate from illegal burning, that is a possible cause of serious health problems for nearby residents.

TotT has reported on the dump numerous times in the past, but the latest concerns were brought to our attention by Xolisa Runeli of the EFF who complained on the Talk of the Town Facebook page that the dump was a health hazard and hoped for support for a case like the one the Kenton-on-Sea Ratepayers Association (Kosra) took out and won against Ndlambe Municipality recently.

“Ndlambe Municipality is [a] murderous regime that is silently killing our people and causing harm to our environment,” he wrote. “Calling on any person who could help our township residents in taking this municipality to court over its volition (sic) of human rights and [the] environment.”

Kosra originally obtained an order from the high court compelling the municipality to properly manage waste at the dumpsite, collect the refuse which had spread over the adjacent veld and prevent the occurrence of fires at the site – which had happened numerous times over the years. A structural interdict was handed down and the municipality had to report on measures it had taken every 90 days.

“When the original order was made one might have anticipated that the old dump would be closed when the new one was operational. But as it happened Ndlambe closed the old dump summarily and put in place procedures to manage the waste that could no longer go to the old dump,” said Kosra chairman Simon Oliver.

These procedures have meant that all refuse (garden waste, plastics, household refuse and all other refuse items) are now brought to Port Alfred and dumped there, as using other “unregistered” dumpsites in the area would be illegal.

Alderman Louise Swanepoel spoke on the matter of the dumpsite at the Democratic Alliance AGM, held on Monday.

“The EIAs (environmental impact assessments) that need to be carried out to establish or decommission a dumpsite are quite lengthy,” she said. “But the site has no security and rubbish is just dumped outside the gate.”

Rob Crothall added that the site needed to be managed properly and George Galbraith said some people had begun dumping their refuse at Centenary Park where it was now a total mess at the once popular braai area.

The state of the Port Alfred dump has been raised at previous council meetings, but the municipality has justified its actions on the basis it does not have enough money to build a new dumpsite. The municipality has not even decommissioned the Marselle/Bushman’s dumpsite due to lack of funds. In the meantime the Port Alfred dumpsite is overflowing.

Recycling company, Iwars (Integrated Waste and Recycling Services), had been processing recyclables at the dump for years but, due to a recent fire allegedly started by vandals, recycling at the dump has ceased as its warehouse was razed to the ground.

“They were doing a great job,” said Ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk. “After the fire they will have to start all over again.”

Swanepoel said that more recycling was required at the dumpsites.

On a recent visit, Canadians from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities met with the South African Local Government Association along with various stakeholders in Ndlambe to discuss and hammer out a plan to mitigate the consequences of climate change. They are also commissioned to assist with recycling efforts in the area.

Ndlambe municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa was contacted for comment but no answer had been received by the time of going to press.

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