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NMB waste programme on hold

ILLEGAL dumping sites in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro are rapidly increasing despite the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s (NMBM) efforts to clean up the city. This after it was confirmed that the ‘War on Waste’ programme, launched in 2017, is currently inactive, with only five town rangers employed at the five Waste Management depots.

The NMBM has put more than R100 million into the community-based programme and said it was extremely difficult to sustain these projects due to financial constraints and the costs involved.

Last year, a total of 18 community waste rangers were employed in various areas in the metro to combat illegal dumping. However, the project was only an eight-month grant-funded pilot project, which commenced on March 1, 2018, and terminated on October 31, 2018. The waste rangers’ contract also terminated with this contract.

According to the executive director of the Public Health Directorate, Andile Tolom, illegal dumping was unfortunately an ongoing and ever increasing problem.

“Various projects have been and continue to be implemented in an endeavour to combat illegal dumping. The NMBM provides a weekly refuse collection service to residents, in terms of the Waste Act. Educational activities, awareness campaigns and law enforcement are also done on an ongoing basis,” Tolom said.

TOLOM added that the War on Waste programme is a temporary programme that is conducted as and when funds are available.

Fuming residents in the metro raised their concerns on social media stating that the rubble is causing health hazards due to growing rubbish dumps.

Netwerk24 reported this year that the filthy and horrible state of the metro prompted Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, to call NMB Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, to hear from him why the city was so dirty.

The municipality had previously strengthened its fight against illegal dumping with the unveiling of three unmarked cars and a specialised vehicle with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, which is so advanced, that the vehicle can spot illegal dumping activities more than a kilometre away during day and night.

However, Tolom said, the hired vehicles were only used for three months but the service was discontinued due to budget constraints at the time.

The municipality has, however, appointed 41 community-based entities on a tri-annual contractual basis in August.

Tolom said that these entities supplement Waste Management in various areas, which are still underdeveloped.

He added, “They are doing refuse collection, cleansing services which entails street sweeping, litter picking and clearing of illegal dumping. The NMBM also issues a fine of R2 000 to offenders who are caught in the act of illegal dumping.”

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