Dumping a health hazard in Bonteheuwel

The City of Cape Town officials clean up dumping on a field in Camelia Street, opposite Cedar Primary School.

Bonteheuwel residents say their health is at risk due to illegal dumping in the area which is also giving others a bad impression of their community.

Clifford Philander, 61, lives opposite a river in the road which connects Swartysterhoud and Syringa streets, where residents dump their unwanted items.

He said, people have lost their dignity and respect for each other and residents don’t want to be told about their wrongdoings.

“People have no discipline nowadays and it starts from inside the house. People come from other areas to dump here because they see that Bonteheuwel’s own people are doing it,” he said.

He said residents cannot even take pictures of those who dump illegally because they are too scared to do so.

Another resident, Douglas Fick, said the dumping in Bonteheuwel started five years ago and was now getting out of hand.

He said he mainly blamed those who were renovating their homes because they employed the services of rubble removers who then dumped the rubble anywhere.

Mr Fick said the community of Bonteheuwel were worried about the health risk associated with the dumping and didn’t even allow the children to play on the fields or on the playgrounds because of all the dirt.

“It poses a health hazard to us and makes Bonteheuwel look so untidy and dirty as if we are people who just don’t care. People have this thing where they think that if others can do it, why can’t they?”

Another resident, Victor Fourie, who has lived in Bonteheuwel for more than 50 years, said what the area needed was a proper dumping site. He said the illegal dumping resulted in a stench which could contribute to ill health. Mr Fourie felt the City of Cape Town should do something about the issue.

“Another issue that we have is that we do not have proper drainage systems so when there are heavy rains the water just lays here on the pavement which creates a mess,” he said.

Berenize Snyman, another resident, said everyone tried to do something to make Bonteheuwel look nice but the dumping sites were everywhere. She said when people drove into Bonteheuwel one of the first things they saw was dumping sites so they must wonder what it looked like further into the area.

“Our children are wondering what we are doing about it. Back in the day no one would dump in the river but now they do it. One of the solutions could be dumping bins but that will create a way for people to dump bodies and babies,” she said.

Mogamad Zain Allie, who sells food behind the Law Enforcement building, said his sales had dropped because of all the dumping which attracted flies.

“We need to work together and take down the registration numbers of the people who dump the rubbish and report them, he said.

Lawrence Arendse, chairman of the Bonteheuwel Community Development Forum, said the residents of Bonteheuwel needed to start taking ownership of their community and that police should arrest the owners of scrapyards because they created a demand for rubbish.

“They cut up the stuff, take what they want and dump the rest on the fields which leads to rats, flies, mosquitoes. We have to close our doors and windows at 6pm already to prevent it from coming inside,” he said.

Mr Arendse added the river needed to be cleaned regularly or be closed down because the stagnant water was a health hazard.

Angus Mckenzie, Bonteheuwel’s ward councillor, said there were far too many open spaces for people to dump rubbish. He said it was important that the community be vigilant of the perpetrators of illegal dumping.

“These individuals are known to us and as a community we need to stand up against the action of illegal dumping as well as the perpetrators thereof,” he said.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, said anyone who was found guilty of illegal dumping offences referred to in the Integrated Waste Management By-law could find themselves forced to pay a minimum fine of R500 not exceeding R10 000 or facing imprisonment for a minimum of six months but not exceeding three years, or stuck with both a fine and imprisonment.

Ms Limberg said residents must report all illegal dumpers to the City and, where successful prosecution happened, the residents may be rewarded with R1 000.

The illegal dumping report must contain pictures of the perpetrators whether it is horse and cart or vehicle. Reports may be submitted through ward councillors for further investigation.

Residents must also clean their own front and backyards to prevent people dumping in them. Through their ward councillor, they may organise clean-up campaigns where the City will supply blue refuse bags and collect them later.

Residents can view the City’s drop-off sites and the items they accept at www.capetown.gov.za and report illegal dumping to the City on 0860 103 089.

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