The Polokwane Municipality has urged residents to take photos of people and their vehicle registration numbers, and to forward the footage to the municipality in order for them to successfully prosecute those who they want to pursue for illegal dumping.
A trail of dumped waste covers almost every corner of the city and it seems that the municipality is not able to clean these areas regularly.
From building material, household waste, dead animals to used baby nappies are seen along the railway between Tweefontein and Broadlands, along Diemeer Street, in parks close to the stadiums, Ivy Park and Ivydale as well as in the field along the N1 south where visitors to the city are warmly welcomed by scattered waste.
Some of the waste was clearly dumped months ago while others is new.
While visiting one of the sites a 19-year-old man quickly approached the vehicle, hoping to help dispose of waste in the vehicle. Living on the site, the boy picks waste and sells it for money.
“Cars come here daily to dump waste. Sometime I do not get any recyclable items and have to survive by collecting and eating old food dumped by people,” he said.
He explained that since the beginning of lockdown the municipality closed the entrance to the illegal dumping site as people also started using it as an alternative route to avoid the nearby roadblock. This was short-lived as a new entrance to the site has already been established by illegal dumpers.
Marketing and Communications Manager at Polokwane Municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo indicated that illegal dumping is done out of sheer disrespect for the community residing in any particular area as it harms their health and environmental wellness. Both businesses and residents are guilty of this transgression, according to him.
Mothapo added that the municipality is responsible for collecting waste from households and businesses and to manage the transfer stations and landfills, but not to move around searching for illegal dumping sites. “The clearing of illegal dumping sites is just an added burden or strain on municipal resources. The resources that are being utilised to deal with illegal dumping could best be used to improve and increase infrastructure to deal with waste management,” he stressed.
The municipality has, however, awareness and education officers who move around communities and schools to educate communities on environmental care.
“Our focus is more on prevention since clearing illegal dumping sites is more expensive. A fine for illegal dumping is R1 200 and it must be noted that illegal dumping is a crime and that transgressors might face possible jail time if found guilty,” Mothapo emphasised.
He urged community members to take an active stance against illegal dumping by taking photos of anyone dumping illegally and their vehicles with visible registration plates. The photos will be anonymously referred to law enforcement officers to track the vehicle owner for sanctioning and possible opening of a criminal case. Transgressors can be reported at (015) 290 2496/2481.
Story: RC Myburgh