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Refuse crisis intensifying

Jessica Nel, Allanridge:

Firstly, I want to put the blame for illegal dumping on the doorstep of the Matjhabeng Municipality and the refuse department.

For years I have been fighting the battle on refuse remo­val in residential areas.

It was usually picked up over weekends and holidays and not on the reserved dates as per arrangement, causing us to play “cat-and-mouse” on getting our trash out on time, and then taking it back in, and then scurrying to get it out again.

For years the municipality wasted a huge amount of money on unnecessary overtime. At long last overtime was restrained.

Then a different scheme emerged. Waste was not picked up for months at a time in the residential areas (this was before Covid-19).

As we all know, the main excuse was that the refuse trucks were broken. What still baffles me, even recently (having new trucks and all), is that the refuse truck arrives in Allanridge on Fridays and the frantic barking of dogs, whistling of workers and grunting of the truck announces its arrival – but then it disappears without removing the trash of the residents. It seems like only certain institutions have their refuse removed and then the truck disappears into thin air.

People have become sick and tired of struggling to have their waste removed.

Our community is fed up. Not everyone can afford private waste removal services, and now they have taken the matter into their own hands. Unfortunately residents’ method is very unsafe, unhygienic and an “eyesore” solution.

One should not dump waste in a residential area. Neither should you burn plastic waste, as it causes toxic smoke.

There is a sound reason why dumping sites are allocated on the outskirts of a town. After a thorough environmental impact study, a set area is allocated as a waste dumping site.

Illegal dumping remains illegal and even if we live in a country where there is very little consequence for trespassers, nature will not remain passive about this hideous transgression against her.

Let me give a probable scenario. Dirty nappies, sanitary pads, rotten food and plastic are consumed by rats which then incur diseases. Allanridge is known for its beautiful sanctuary of owls. Owls may eat the infected rats and leave their droppings where people may get infected. Human waste is very infectious and this waste-matter could end up in our water supply.

I regularly see little children playing around the dumping areas and my heart breaks to think how sick they will get.

Allanridge is not the only town which struggles. Must we wait for disaster to strike, before we act?

I want to ask the municipality: How many clean-up campaigns do you want us to run while you relax?

I advise you to please get your house in order and do the job that you are so generously being paid to do.

To the residents: Do not lose your dignity, self-respect and sense of responsibility. Do not dump waste illegally, as you are not spiting anyone and it is not a cheap way of getting rid of waste. It will come at a very costly price.

Let us get our act together or nature will soon increase her action against our reckless behaviour.

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