10 September 2020
For immediate release
Illegal dumping needs to stop for the sake of all of us
Illegal dumping and littering is a national environmental problem which has a detrimental effect on human health. This problem not only negatively affects the environment, but it also has social and economic repercussions, such as detrimental impact on tourism. Recently it became widely known that illegal dumping is prevalent in the majority of the identified COVID-19 hotspots in the Garden Route district.
With the above in mind, the need to effectively clear and manage illegal dumping in the COVID-19 hotspot areas has become a matter of urgency. Consequently, an investigation was initiated by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to determine the challenges of each local municipality to effectively manage illegal dumping in their respective municipalities. Also, to determine the associated costs relating to doing this for the remainder of the 2020-2021 financial year.
According to the local municipalities, all the identified illegal dumping hotspots in the Garden Route district receive waste management services. In most municipalities, waste skips are placed in and around areas where illegal dumping is prevalent and waste disposal at the waste facilities is also free of charge. Therefore, illegal dumping is not due to a lack of waste management services but is however a human behavioural issue. The problem is especially prevalent in less affluent areas of municipalities. There are a countless number of instances where domestic waste is disposed of in ravines and open spaces. Similarly, small builders and gardening service providers are also frequently reported for illegally dumping builders’ rubble and garden waste in open spaces and road reserves. These areas become particularly difficult to access by means of machinery i.e. front-end loaders and tipper trucks and therefore require a different approach.
GRDM has found that each local municipality has unique needs, volumes of illegally dumped waste and clearing methodologies and the costing and implementation of a district or standardised approach will therefore not be efficient. Also, the majority of the local municipalities have a dire lack of budget allocation and/or understanding of the requirements to effectively manage illegal dumping.
As a result, a project was identified to clear all accumulated waste in the COVID-19 and illegal dumping hotspots. The project aims to implement measures to maintain clean and hygienic conditions in these areas to mitigate the associated detrimental health effects. A door-to-door educational and awareness campaign on proper waste management and environmental pollution will be conducted. This grassroots level approach will attempt to change residents’ attitudes towards illegal dumping. Also, it would be a great achievement if behavioural change can happen through the buy-in of the community. This will ensure that the project is sustainable.
Due to the enormity of the project and the associated costs at a district level, the project will be implemented in a phased approach. Phase 1 of the project will entail the clearing of illegally dumped waste in the Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp areas of the George Municipality, for four months from September 2020 until the end of December 2020. George Municipality, specifically Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp, were identified as the areas where illegal dumping is currently most prevalent in the district. Therefore, these areas are perfectly suited for the implementation of Phase 1 of the project. The project will be rolled-out in collaboration with the applicable local municipalities and in this case, George Municipality.
Front-end loaders and tipper trucks will be utilised for the clearing of large stockpiles of illegally dumped domestic waste as well as for the clearing of accumulated garden waste and builders’ rubble.
Community-based contractors and workforces i.e. employment of workers from within the communities will be utilised for the areas that are inaccessible to large machinery and equipment. The EPWP job creation approach is being used, which means that EPWP participants are being recruited and appointed by the GRDM for a period of four months. The GRDM will appoint a total of thirty-five (35) EPWP participants as support staff to the front-end loaders which will include fourteen (14) EPWP participants as support staff to the front-end loaders provided by George Municipality. Thirty-six (36) EPWP participants will be appointed for the door-to-door education and awareness and the conduction of a survey to determine the causal factors contributing to illegal dumping. George Municipality will implement loud hailing throughout the illegal dumping areas in order to inform residents of the project and to request their cooperation during and after the project. The Ward Councillors of the respective wards in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp will also assist in spreading the word.