Community embarks on anti-dumping campaign

Community members work together to clean up an illegal dumping site in Missionvale. photo: Supplied

A Community leader in the northern areas of Nelson Mandela Bay, Gary van Niekerk, with the help of the community, plans to embark on an anti-dumping campaign from tomorrow onwards, to clean areas overflowing with waste.

Van Niekerk is the founder of the “Stop Northern Areas Killings” (S.N.A.K) Facebook page, which was initially established two years ago, after four young boys, between the ages of eight and 16, were killed in Booysens Park.

Since the establishment of the Facebook group, various issues have been addressed by its 47 000 members, such as service delivery in the northern areas, among others.

Gary van Niekerk.

According to Van Niekerk, illegal dumping is worse than it has ever been in these areas and he believes that it has affected the psyche of the people in the community.

“We feel that it is impacting on the minds of the people, which ultimately affects their behaviour,” he said.

“These behavioural changes are some of the main reasons why the number of killings in the northern areas has increased so much that Bethelsdorp Police Station has one of the highest number of murders and attempted murders in the country.”

He added that this is why they decided to start the campaign in the community with help from volunteers from the S.N.A.K Facebook page and members of the newly established Northern Alliance political party.

Van Niekerk said that the areas identified for the clean-up initiative were Arcadia, Extension 34, and Extension 36 in Bethelsdorp under the banner: “I love my Northern Areas.”

He said that they had decided to assist these areas first, because they each have street committees that can take over the anti-dumping initiative once they have cleaned up the area.

“We are encouraging all areas to establish street committees to address issues of illegal dumping, gangsterism, selling of drugs and other crimes.”

Van Niekerk said that Waste Management had assured him that they would make regular visits to these areas to collect the waste.

Once these areas have been cleaned, the anti-dumping campaign would focus on covering all areas from Kensington to Tiryville in Uitenhage.

In a bid to get the campaign rolling sooner, Van Niekerk hosted a trial run at the Van Der Kemps Kloof in Bethelsdorp on September 24.

Apart from hosting a braai and partaking in the Jerusalema dance challenge, he also ensured that, as cars entered the event, they were given a black bag and requested to throw all their rubbish in the bags.

After the clean up in Missionvale on September 10, the area was cleared of all waste.

Municipal spokesperson, Mamela Ndamase, said that the municipality cleared illegal dumping daily, according to their schedule.

“We do awareness campaigns, patrols by our rangers and our weekly refuse collection remains the most effective strategy.” Despite the metro’s Public Health Department not being aware of the anti-dumping campaign established by Van Niekerk, Ndamase said that they would like to advise him to consult with the depot so that the metro can see how they can assist.

She added that the NMBM would be embarking on cleaning campaigns and more awareness campaigns to change the mindset of residents.

“We need to involve the residents in order for them to own their areas and refrain from illegal dumping.”

Fortunately, local businesses have committed to donating black bags for the campaign, but due to the magnitude of the waste, Van Niekerk said that they would need community members to also donate to ensure that they had sufficient bags for the clean-up.

For more information, Van Niekerk can be contacted on 061 467 9072.

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