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Waste management headache

DELAYS in the re-opening of the R2-million refurbished Kragga Kamma transfer station are causing problems for residents in the area.Ward 9 DA councillor Heinrich Muller said that illegal dumping has dramatically increased, making the area a health and safety hazard.According to Muller, strikes in the steel industry, rain and bad weather were some of the reasons for the delays in construction, while delays to the opening were due to the municipality awaiting approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs.

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“It has been a headache since the closure as people need to travel much further to have access to a transfer site. Unfortunately illegal dumping has increased dramatically, not only in my ward, but also the surrounding wards,” Muller said.

 A community member who wished to remain anonymous said he had suffered financially because of the closed refuse station. “I have to travel to other areas to dispose of my rubbish every week. This is financially crippling considering the petrol price today. I’ve seen people and businesses illegally dumping trash. If the municipality doesn’t do anything soon, this area will be filthy,” he said.

In June 2012 the municipality was reprimanded by the provincial Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism for poor management of the Kragga Kamma waste site.

This led to the then public health director, Dr Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni, requesting the site be closed while it was upgraded to comply with the waste licence conditions.

The municipality (according to local news reports) was allocated only R6-million for waste management in the whole metro in the draft 2012/13 budget, while R132-million was needed.

Municipal spokesman Roland Williams said the situation had improved as the council had provided funding for the purchase of trucks to be used in increasing the frequency of collection in low-income areas over a three-year period.

The waste management operating budget for the 2014/15 financial year had drastically improved to R423-million, with R1,5-million of that set aside for the operation at the Kragga Kamma drop-off site.

“The major problem being experienced by residents is that refuse collection in low-income areas is only done once every two weeks. The frequency of collection has been increased as of March 30 to a weekly service in the Ibhayi area and other areas will follow in due course.

“There are 19 formal transfer stations in Nelson Mandela Bay, which generate about 49 000 tons of waste a year,” Wiliams said.

Although he could not specify when the Kragga Kamma site would re-open, he explained that the site would not only operate as a drop-off Centre for garden refuse and bulky waste, but would before the end of this year operate as a recycling station where members of the public could drop off their recyclable materials.

Although many challenges were experienced with illegal dumping, the metro was still seen as one of the cleanest cities in the country, he said.

“We have prepared and approved a comprehensive strategy to eliminate illegal dumping. Once the strategy has been fully implemented, visible changes will be noticed.”

Source: News 24


 

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