GEORGE NEWS - George Municipality has identified a shocking 200 illegal dump sites in George. In response to a plea from the Hotspot Strategy Task Team, the budget office has set aside a sum of R500 000 to address the illegal dump sites over the next two months.
The cleaning division of the community services directorate will start this week with a cohesive clearing programme. Areas will be systematically cleared up and the refuse moved to the Transfer Station using JCBs and trucks.
The areas are located in Thembalethu, Protea Park, Le Vallia, Rosemoor, Conville, Maraiskamp, Parkdene, Rosedale, Syferfontein, New Dawn Park, Seaview, Blanco, Touwsranten, Wilderness Heights Informal Settlement and Kleinkrantz Informal Settlement.
Hotspot task team
The impact of Covid-19 on communities and in particular on two hotspots, Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp, has highlighted the extreme dangers of these illegal dump sites which serve as a breeding ground for insects and vermin and could possibly contain dangerous medical waste which could be contaminated with Covid-19.
When evidence became available in July that areas such as Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp were Covid-19 hotspots (communities showing the highest rates of transmission of infection), an intergovernmental, multi-disciplinary Hotspot Strategy Task Team (HSSTT) was established to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Steven Erasmus, director of Protection Services and chairperson of the HSSTT, said the matter of illegal dumping has been escalated internally as well as externally.
"A Provincial Cabinet decision on this and other critical matters is being awaited. In the meantime, the George Municipality as well as the Garden Route District Municipality have joined efforts and made funding available for this purpose," said Erasmus.
The task team's main objective is to minimise the spread of the virus and in so doing save as many lives as possible.
During a budget meeting on Friday 28 August, Mayor Leon Van Wyk highlighted the urgency and need to keep our vulnerable communities safe, but at the same time admonished citizens who perpetuate the misinformation that illegal dumping provides for job creation. "The reality is no jobs are being created," said Van Wyk.
"The clearing of these sites is generally done with expensive equipment which uses budget previously allocated to infrastructure and/or similar projects. By allowing illegal dumping to take place in your neighbourhood, and turning a blind eye, you are forcing the municipality to spend unnecessary funds on cleaning, when the funds should be used to maintain roads, water and sanitation services," said Van Wyk.
Municipal Manager Trevor Botha thanked the Garden Route District Municipality for its collaborative approach and funding assistance.
The municipality asks the public to spread the news that the dumping of waste is dangerous and a health hazard.
• Waste should be collected in refuse bags and put out for collection on waste removal days.
• Builder's rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site situated off the R102 (airport road).
• Report illegal dumping to law enforcement offices. If you can provide names, the vehicle registration details or addresses of the alleged perpetrators and are willing to make a statement in this regard, it will assist the municipality in catching the culprits.
• Report those illegally dumping waste on 044 801 6350 or e-mail email@example.com. If you notice dumped waste in your area, please report for collection on 044 802 2900.
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