Residents have cleaned up the canal along Jan Smuts Drive, behind Bokmakierie, which they say has become a hot spot for dumping and a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes.
Everything from soiled nappies to old furniture, broken appliances and rubble is discarded in the canal, says ward councillor Rashid Adams, who organised the clean-up on Monday March 28.
Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) employees and Bokmakierie Neighbourhood Watch members also joined the clean-up.
The canal had become a health hazard, and residents had been complaining about it for more than 20 years, said Mr Adams.
“Anything from household dirt to faeces is found in the river. When there is no rain and water flow, the water becomes stagnant and then breeds germs and insects.”
The City had fenced the canal off in 2012, but the fencing had been damaged or stolen since then, he said.
EPWP worker Aziza Hendricks said Athlone was full of dumping hot spots that were no sooner cleaned than dumped on again. The canal had started to smell, and rats and mosquitoes were invading residents’ homes.
“I confront the people, but they don’t care,” she said. “Last week, I saw a man dumping, and I asked him why he was doing that, and he said he only dumped sand, but he was lying. Dumping really degrades our place. It makes our area look disgusting.”
Resident Aziza Kannemeyer said the Bokmakierie canal was a convenient place for residents to dump and the municipality should consider placing skips near the canal to divert rubbish from it.
But for the dumping to stop, she added, culprits needed to face harsher consequences. Another solution would be to close the canal with concrete slabs so the space could be used for recreational purposes – something the children of Bokmakierie desperately needed, she said.
Last week, City staff cleaned up dumping hot spots in Bonteheuwel including blocked stormwater drains (“Councillor urges residents to stop dumping,” Athlone News, March 30) and the week before Lansdowne train station car park’s vagrants did the same (“Lansdowne homeless clean up,“ Athlone News, March 23).