Category: <span>Illegal Dumping</span>

10 February 2023 Save the Date: Garden Route District Municipality to embark on an Illegal Dumping Campaign

Save the Date: Garden Route District Municipality to embark on an Illegal Dumping Campaign

Illegal dumping is a serious environmental and public health concern. This habit leads to pollution of air, water and soil, and can also attract pests and create unsanitary conditions. In addition, it can also decrease property values and negatively impact the overall aesthetic of an area. Raising awareness about the negative impacts of illegal dumping can help to reduce the incidence of this behaviour and promote more responsible disposal of waste.

Environmental Health Practitioners from Garden Route municipalities together with stakeholders will this week embark on a campaign to educate communities on the health effects of illegal dumping.

Members of the public are invited to follow us on social media from Monday, 13 February 2023 or tune into Eden FM (Monday, 13 February 2023 from 7:40) to learn more about the negative impact of illegal dumping on the environment. Various slots will also be used by local municipalities throughout the week to speak about illegal dumping.

Let’s be the change within our communities and let’s curb illegal dumping together”.

30 August 2022 Media Release: GRDM Councillors and officials visit establishments in the Hessequa area

Media Release: GRDM Councillors and officials visit premises and establishments in the Hessequa area

For immediate release
30 August 2022

On Monday, 22 Augustus 2022, a Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) delegation visited various premises and sites within the Hessequa region (Heidelberg and Slangrivier) to establish shortcomings,  evaluate standards of municipal health services delivered, as well as to hand over sanitary towels to learners. Community Services Portfolio Committee members, Ald. Nompumelelo Ndayi, Cllrs Jobieth Hoogbaard and Cobus Meiring, Executive Manager, Clive Africa for Community Services, Manager for Municipal Health and Environmental Management, Johan Compion, and officials from the Hessequa Region formed part of the delegation.

Municipal Health Services as defined in the National Health Act, 2003 includes the following Key Performance Areas of which these visits are applicable to: Water Quality Monitoring, Food Control, Solid Waste Management, Health Surveillance of Premises, Supervision and Prevention of Contagious Diseases (excluding Immunization), Vector Control, Environmental Pollution Control, Disposal of Human Remains and the Safe handling of Chemical Substances.

The team visited three (3) crèches, a soup kitchen, a high school, a spaza shop and an illegal dumping site. By visiting these facilities/premises Councillors were afforded the opportunity to understand how the interventions of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) assist these establishments to comply with relevant By-Laws and/or legislation. Ongoing monitoring and health and hygiene education by the EHPs enable them to implement measures to address the gaps in line with the Key Performance Areas for Municipal Health Services.

During the visits, Haemish Herwels, Chief: Municipal Health for the Hessequa region,  and Marchelles Hurling, Environmental Health Practitioner, explained the inspection procedures and the issues of importance.

Child care facilities – Herwels reiterated the importance of allowable floor space, which dictate the number of children that can be accommodated at childcare premises. According to the relevant norms and standards, 1.5 m² must be available for each child.  Furthermore he explained that the compliance to the prescribed number of toddlers and proper ventilation can minimize the spread of diseases within the classroom setting.

When visiting another crèche in the area it was observed that space was a real challenge. Crèche principle, Petro Joseph, informed the delegation that due to the number of toddlers currently registered at the facility she is in the process of expanding the facility to ensure, not only compliance to the GRDM By-laws, but also promoting the health and safety of all their toddlers.

Herwels also explained that EHPs visit these facilities on a regular basis to evaluate the hygiene standards of classrooms, bathrooms, outside play areas and the kitchens of those facilities who prepare meals for the toddlers

Visit to Slangrivier High School – Visiting Slangrivier High School was the highlight of the event when Cllr Ndayi and the team handed over two hundred (200) packs of sanitary towels to learners. When she took the items into acceptance, Raymondi Saayman admitted that not having these items makes it difficult for learners to attend school, which has a detrimental impact on their overall academic performance. She extended a messages of appreciation to the Garden Route team for the generous donation. With August being Women’s month Ald. Ndayi, said “While we are celebrating Women’s Month, we hope that these products will help restore the dignity of our female learners, as they will be our leaders of tomorrow”.

Illegal Dumping – The team visited certain sites along Eikeweg where illegal dumping has become a major problem. Herwels explained that the EHP’s conduct regular inspections of formal and informal settlements to monitor illegal dumping, as part of Waste Management which is listed as a key performance area,  as these sites if not managed, create favourable conditions for the breeding of flies and rodents which can contribute to the spread of diseases. When illegal dumping is brought under their attention, it is immediately communicated to the Hessequa Municipality. Furthermore Herwels mentioned that currently they have a good relationship with the Hessequa Municipality, as such that when issues are communicated it is addressed immediately.

Spaza Shops Spaza shops, over the years have become the life-line of informal economic development which has become significant in our communities across the country. These shops are mostly situated in residential areas and customers therefore do not have to travel far to purchase essential goods, especially in case of emergencies.

Although it has its benefits of easy access, these shops must comply with all the requirements as stipulated in the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food and Related Matters R 638 of 22 June 2018, to ensure that customers enjoy a convenient, but mostly a healthy shopping experience. Regular inspections are conducted by the EHPs to ensure compliance with the regulation and food samples are taken from time to time to monitor the bacteriological and chemical quality of products. One such spaza-shop is Corner Shop, situated in Heidelberg. When the Garden Route delegation entered the shop, they immediately observed the neatness of the shop with food products that were labelled properly. Marcelles Hurling, the EHP responsible for Heidelberg and Witsand areas, gave an overview of how the inspections are conducted and the intervention taken to ensure compliance to the Regulation. He furthermore explained that constant hygiene and food safety training have an enormous influence on the tidiness of Spaza shops, of which Corner shop is a good example.

Soup Kitchens – A touching moment was to see how Aunt Catherine, together with her assistants prepared a hearty meal for the vulnerable members in her community.  When arriving at the soup kitchen, adults and kids were already queuing to receive their warm soup. Cat’s Kitchen provides meals to almost 100 people per day, three days a week. Catherine said: “We started very small, and at a point I was able to register the soup kitchen and from there onwards, various people came on board including councillors and family members, who helped me to be able to provide these meals”. Adding to this, she said: “We are grateful to the group Unspoken for their assistance with the capturing of the beneficiaries’ names when they collect their meals. With this we can determine who the most vulnerable is in the community”.

Ablution facilities – The team furthermore visited Donald Square, an informal settlement in Heidelberg.  According to Herwels, EHPs conduct regular inspections  in the area, to evaluate the structural requirements of toilet facilities and the hygiene aspects thereof.  A major aspect that is also monitored is the issue of illegal dumping.

While addressing the team, in closing, Cllr Ndayi, said: “For the current GRDM Community Services Portfolio Committee it was our first visit to the premises where our Municipal Health Service perform their duties and it has been an inspiring experience to see how thankful these establishments’ representatives were towards GRDM”. Adding to this she highlighted: “Being accompanied by my colleagues Cllrs Meiring and Hoogbaard, as well as the Head of the Department and the team who work closely with these establishments, showed their true commitment and passion for the communities of the Garden Route”.

Feature Photo: Before leaving Cat’s Soup Kitchen in Slangrivier fo their next stop, Aunt Catherine insisted that each member of the GRDM delegation enjoys a warm cup of soup. 

ENDS

27 October 2021 Media Release: We are controlling alien invasive species on all our properties

Media Release:  We are controlling alien invasive species on all our properties

For Immediate Release
27 October 2021

Section 76 of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004) requires that all “Organs of State in all spheres of Government”, develop an “Invasive Species Monitoring, Control and Eradication Plan” for land under their control. These plans have to cover all listed invasive species in Section 70(1) of the Act.

According to Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, “the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has complied with the required mandatory legislation to take responsibility for eradicating alien species on its properties to adhere to the above”.  Booysen stated that during 2019 Council already appointed a service provider to compile an Invasive Monitoring Control and Eradication Plan as outlined in the two sets of legislation that regulate the declaration and control of Invasive Alien Species in South Africa.

These include the :

  • Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (43 of 1983, CARA); and
  • the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004, NEMBA).

GRDM, in 2019, submitted the Invasive Monitoring Control and Eradication Plan to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) for approval. After numerous engagements, including inspection of Council’s properties based on the submitted plan, on 05 August 2021, the GRDM received approval for the Plan. Following this, the GRDM Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Section was mandated to monitor and evaluate properties bi-monthly as part of a monitoring and management control plan.  This approach was established to mitigate the risks on Council properties and adhere to NEMBA. Therefore, the progress and status of the Council properties regarding invasive species control is regularly tabled in Council.

Other recommendations from the GRDM Council regarding the management and monitoring of invasive and alien species includes:

  • creating fire breaks on Council’s properties; and
  • regular clearing and the erection of fencing at all Council properties to avoid sanction as outlined by section 102 of the Act (NEMBA).

Some of Council’s properties are located on the coastal lines with where there is a vast range of biodiversity species. However, easy accessibility to these properties contributes to illegal dumping, which poses a high risk to the threatened species. Numerous cleanup actions were conducted and are continuously planned for these properties.

With the current GRDM Council that approved Invasive Species Monitoring, Control and Eradication Plan, as well as all the control plans with specified timeframes, it is evident that future invasion by alien species is and will be managed and reduced.  An aggressive approach will be taken to implement proposed solutions and controls, pending the budget available within the 2021/22 financial year.

GRDM Invasive Species Monitoring, Control and Eradication Plan

 

24 November 2020 Media Release: Municipalities place skips in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp

Media Release: Municipalities place skips in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp

For Immediate Release
24 November 2020

Illegal dumping sites remain a problem for all seven (7) local municipalities in the Garden Route. As part of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and George Municipality (GM) illegal dumping response, Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp have been earmarked for additional assistance. As of now, nine (9) x 6m³ waste skips have been placed at illegal dumping hotspots. This includes seven (7) for Thembalethu and two (2) for Pacaltsdorp. These waste skips are being hired for the interim until George Municipality has concluded the procurement process of their own waste skips to be placed in and around illegal dumping hotspots in George.

Members of the public are urged to make proper use of the waste skips for disposing their household waste. The skips are meant to be used for refuse that cannot be stored until the weekly refuse removal days of GM.

According to Johan Compion, Manager: Municipal Health and Environmental Services for GRDM, “The placement and proper management of skips could also provide a solution to illegal dumping.  We are hopeful that a notable change will be visible as this pilot project continues, in addition, we await survey data being collected at the moment to provide more insights into the issue.”

Skips are free for everyone to use, but at the same time the public has to keep in mind that once skips are removed from hotspot areas, it does not mean that illegal dumping is permitted. General assumptions by GRDM about illegal dumping is that it takes place more frequently in informal or poorer communities because people can’t afford the transport or removal of waste to waste transfer stations.

The process of ensuring that skips are frequently emptied involves skip contractors. These small business owners are responsible for transporting waste skips to the George Waste Transfer Station. After emptying each skip, the containers are returned to the hotspots where they were collected. The help of 30 EPWP workers is evermore important as they assist municipalities to clear areas inaccessible to machinery. These same EPWP workers also tasked to assist the public, especially the elderly and children, to dispose of waste into the skips.

Twelve (12) Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants are still on the ground working with the JCBs to clear illegal dump sites. Thirty six (36) educators are also doing door-to-door education and awareness as well as a survey to determine the causal factors of illegal dumping; and the community requirements; or possible solutions to prevent issues in future. Twenty four (24) educators are working in Thembalethu and 12 in Pacaltsdorp. Each person, who moves in a group of six (6), is easily identifiable by a high visibility vest and identification cards.

Garden Route District Municipality wants to remind the public that Illegal dumping is a danger to your health and that of your children and animals – let’s put an end to illegal dumping and report perpetrators to our local municipalities.

Caption: A skip used for dumping waste at a spot in Nelson Mandela Boulevard.

ENDS

12 November 2020 Media Release: Awareness about the dangers of illegal dumping continues

Media Release: Awareness about the dangers of illegal dumping continues

For Immediate Release
12 November 2020

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and George Municipality recently started weekly clean-up activities in the illegal dumping and Covid-19 hotspots in Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp areas in George. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has already been signed to cement both institution’s agreement to achieve a certain set of goals over a 4-month period with the option of extending clean-up it. The MoA, provides specifics in terms of how the project will continue and how funding of R2.47 million injected into the project by GRDM will be utilised.

One of the frequently found items at illegal dumping sites – face masks.

Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers and educators have been appointed to be the change-makers tasked to bring about a clean, green and a safe George. During their initial discussions, both municipalities identified the need for educators to interact and share valuable information with communities about illegal dumping, refuse removal and communication about waste management. Thirty six (36) educators are already doing door-to-door education and awareness as well as a survey to determine the causal factors of illegal dumping; and the community requirements; or possible solutions to prevent issues in future. Twenty four (24) educators have been assigned to Thembalethu and 12 to Pacaltsdorp. Each person, who moves in a group of six (6), is easily identifiable by a high visibility vest.

Educators received training on 10 November and the eager group commenced work on 11 November. The educators use masks and hand sanitisers in order to ensure that all health protocols are adhered to during their daily walkabouts, which is expected to continue for a 4-month period.

Executive Mayor for GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen and the Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services at GRDM, Cllr Khayalethu Lose, and other leaders decided that the regional waste management office needs a joint approach to confront the illegal dumping phenomena. “We can only solve illegal dumping if municipalities get the buy-in from the public and their support for the project,” said Alderman Booysen. He further stated that, “GRDM and all the local municipalities wishes to remind the public that illegal dumping is a crime – we cannot let this continue and ruin our beautiful Garden Route. What about our future, that of our kids and our environment?”

The waste management unit, communicators and environmental health practitioners from GRDM work closely with George Municipality and have weekly planning sessions to address challenges. Morton Hubbe, GRDM Manager: Waste Management, said: “By having educators on a grassroots level we hope to gain a better understanding about public perceptions relating to waste management, current service delivery gaps and general issues in some wards”.

GRDM wishes to remind the public that illegal dumping of waste is dangerous and a health hazard. Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on waste removal days. The communities are also urged to participate in the survey in order for municipalities to determine what needs to be done to assist the communities to prevent illegal dumping.

ENDS

Caption for feature image: Two of the 36 educators raising awareness about illegal dumping and conducting surveys in Pacaltsdorp.

8 October 2020 Media Statement: Municipal communicators make shocking discoveries at illegal dump site

Media Statement: Municipal communicators make shocking discoveries at illegal dump site

For Immediate Release
8 October 2020

Municipal communicators from Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) recently visited an illegal dump site in Pacaltsdorp to photograph the progress made by contractors tasked to clean sites. With shock, communicators noted a countless number of items, including toxic, sharp and dangerous ones, as well as foul smelling water – leaving one communicator almost vomiting from the stench. “The scariest part is that there were kids playing in the same area, metres from the dangerous field of waste and water,” said one communicator.

The GRDM, in collaboration with George Municipality are hard at work trying to clear illegal dump sites in the George area, including Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp. GRDM has committed R2.47 million to the project. George Municipality earlier announced that they will contribute R500 000.00 to curb illegal dumping. JCB backhoe loaders are utilised to clear sites and 35 Expanded Public Works Participant (EPWP) waste pickers work alongside these trucks to collect smaller items. More activities are lined up to take place over the next few months, including a survey to find out why people illegally discard of waste; and door-to-door awareness about the impact of illegal dumping , etc.

The question many Garden Routers is asking is – do we all want the areas cleaned or have many of us decided that a clean and safe environment is not important? The GRDM stumbled upon concerns raised on Facebook by a government employee who said that an illegal dumpsite was cleaned by the municipalities (Garden Route District and George), but moments later someone dumped their waste there again. Others commented on her post by saying that municipalities should plant trees at the sites, however this suggestion was said not to work because some community members might remove the trees. Another person said that the municipalities cleaned an area on a Monday, but by Tuesday the area was dirty again.

GRDM Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) monitor the areas each day after a clean-up was conducted. EHPs are already aware that water at illegal dumping sites are toxic, but a decision was made to take water samples which will be analysed. Test results will indicate how dangerous these sites are  (backed by scientific evidence).

The public are urged to remind their friends, family and neighbours that the illegal dumping of waste is dangerous and that it poses a health hazard. Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on waste removal days. Builders’ rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site on the R102 (airport road).

Communities can provide names, vehicle registration details or addresses of alleged illegal dumpers and make a statement in this regard by contacting Law Enforcement at 044 801 6350 or sprins@george.gov.za. George Municipality states that a person doesn’t need a photograph of the perpetrator, but that it would strengthen the case for a warning or fine to be issued.

Members of the public are also welcome to report illegal dumpsites to 044 802 2900.

Illegal dumping remains an offence and carries a R1000 fine.

ENDS

 

29 September 2020 Media Release: Resource management is key to Eastern Cape survival

Media Release: Resource management is key to Eastern Cape survival

For Immediate Release
29 September 2020

“The inevitable advent of Day Zero, combined with renewed load shedding, COVID-19 impacts and political and policy uncertainty, will no doubt impact upon regional socio-economic prospects. An urgent effort is required to collectively plan around resource management and water security, in particular, for the Gamtoos Valley and the Eastern Cape as a whole,” says Rienette Colesky, Chief Executive Officer of the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) in an interview with Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The interview is part of an ongoing climate change debate and interview series, facilitated by the Forum to examine the correlation between some of the nett-effects experienced during COVID-19 and those enforced by climate change. In the interview,  Meiring asked Colesky about the relevance and sustainability of resource management in the Eastern Cape.

Farming activities in the Gamtoos Valley: Gamtoos farmers are adapting to the “new normal” exerted by a changing climate. (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

Says Meiring: “The geographical borders of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) extend close to where the regional footprint of the GIB and the Sarah Baartman District Municipality starts. There are many shared similarities that the respective regions have in common in terms of environmental management, including climate change, in particular, drought and changes in rainfall patterns.”

Meiring wanted to know from Colesky what the GIB’s main concerns about climate change and resource management are in going forward.

Says Colesky: “The Gamtoos River community and its socio-economic survival is almost exclusively agro-centric and dependent on what the natural environment gives us. Resource management – water resource management in particular – is vital, not only for the Gamtoos and Kouga region, but it is essential for the Eastern Cape economy and the communities it supports. Water (management) is also a forex generator – it is a critical component of the entire agricultural produce export value chain and forex markets and therefore contributes to the South African economy as a whole.”

Asks Meiring: “The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has now reached Day Zero. Given the extremely vulnerable status of the Kouga dam level, what are your sentiments on the immediate future of the regional water security situation, and the prospects for the farming community that is almost exclusively dependent on water from the Kouga dam, catchment and supply system?”

Says Colesky: “We are basically in uncharted waters with regards to water security and the impact thereof will have a harsh and tangible influence on both the short, medium and long-term prospects of agricultural productivity in the Gamtoos Valley.”

“Compounding the socio-economic situation, over the past few decades we have seen a significant influx of people from destitute Eastern Cape communities into the Gamtoos region in search of work. The influx generates ever-increasing demands on sparse resources, and, as COVID-19 highlighted, poses new economic and social challenges, impacting both directly and indirectly on our mandate and management resources.”

“Over and above our mandated environmental management issues, GIB has taken on a significant number of state-subsidised relief efforts aimed at poverty relief, mostly centralised around environmental rehabilitation work in wetland systems, invasive alien plant management and infrastructure maintenance and improvement.”

Continues Colesky: “We know that the interior and western parts of the GRDM also suffer from almost perpetual drought, and the Gamtoos farming community most certainly is feeling the same pressure, having to resort to adaptive measures to reduce water use, whilst maintaining as high as possible quality production levels.”

“Despite the restrictions imposed on us by nature in the form of a changing climate, especially in terms of severely reduced rainfall in our vital catchments, our farmers’ ability to adapt to the new normal in order to survive has been remarkable thus far.”

Concludes Colesky: “We are deeply concerned about the water security situation in the region as well as what is happening in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, as we are socially and economically closely interlinked and co-dependent on the same resources.”

“An urgent and  collective effort in terms of planning around resource management, and water security in particular, from regional, provincial and national levels are required, without which a prosperous future for the Eastern Cape, as a whole, will not be sustainable.”

Caption: Cover image – A noticeable influx of people from destitute Eastern Cape communities is contributing to socio-economic sustainability concerns in the Gamtoos Valley. (Photo: Cobus Meiring)

ENDS

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
1. Rienette Colesky, CEO of the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB)
Tel: 042 007 0382; Cell: 083 703 0428
Email: rienette.c@gamtooswater.co.za; info@gamtooswater.co.za

2. Cobus Meiring: Chair of the Garden Route Environmental Forum Secretariat
Cell: 083 626 7619
Email: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za