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A losing battle against rubbish. . . but we will not give up

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“It is a sad situation when beer bottles, used condoms and even infected syringes are dumped next to schools, in graveyards, at churches and even the High Court"

LITTER: During December the municipality launched a cleaning blitz throughout the city, many of these areas are now worse than they were before. Picture: Supplied

WHILE the Sol Plaatje Municipality has gone out on a massive cleaning blitz across the city during December, it has conceded that it is losing the battle as cleaned up areas are now even worse than they were before.

“We are committed to ensuring a clean city,” municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said yesterday. “We are not going to get tired.”

Matsie, however, said that during December the municipality had launched a cleaning blitz throughout the city, from Greenpoint to Minerva Gardens, as well as parts of Galeshewe and Roodepan and the Oppenheimer Gardens, only for many of these areas to be worse than they were before.

“In some instances, they were 100 times worse just a few days after we had cleaned up and removed the rubbish,” he said.

“Residents have complained about the filth covering the city. Some residents have pointed out that the rubbish has attracted rodents, like rats, and even snakes to their properties. However, it is these same residents who are dumping wherever they want.

“It is a sad situation when beer bottles, used condoms and even infected syringes are dumped next to schools, in graveyards, at churches and even the High Court.

“Sometimes the smell coming from the rubbish is so bad that it affects the health of nearby residents. In one situation, an elderly woman developed asthma as a result of the bad smell coming from a nearby illegal dump.”

He added that the municipality was committed to a clean city. “It is obvious that some residents support us in this venture, but others clearly do not and dump wherever they feel like it. Even in affluent areas of the city, residents leave their building rubble and other rubbish on the pavement for months on end.”

He added that during the blitz, the municipality, together with the police, demolished some old structures which were being used for criminal activities.

“Everyone is complaining about the state of the city – even tourists are afraid to go into some parts of town – but it is the very residents who are complaining who are often guilty of illegal dumping and polluting the city.

“There has been a call that the bylaws on illegal dumping be enforced and the Executive Mayor has committed to look into this as it is true that we have a challenge with the enforcement of our bylaws. However, it is a very sad situation when people need to be threatened with punishment in order not to litter. Do we have to resort to fining people to ensure that we live in a clean environment?”

In the meantime, he urged residents to name and shame perpetrators.

“Often it is difficult to confront those who are guilty of illegal dumping and in some instances it can even be dangerous. Therefore, we urge residents to take photographs and even videos of people dumping waste.”