How to Curb Illegal Dumping

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

There are no excuses for illegal dumping. Like vandalism, it affects everybody, particularly the most vulnerable residents in cities, says executive mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille. Instead of spending money on upgrades and services to the benefit of local communities, ratepayers are carrying hefty bills to finance common law crimes.

The practising of a no tolerance approach when dealing with illegal dumping - be it in residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural municipal zones, serves in the interests of broader communities. In a recent appeal the city of Cape Town urged local communities to co-operate by strengthening its efforts in curbing illegal dumping. This includes millions spent from budget allocations, unlimited political will, daily law enforcement, and current by-laws in place.

Increased attention, and a fierce resistance to the health and environmental threats posed by illegal dumping, especially to children as the result of toxic exposure and dangerous objects, can help reduce serious implications and unnecessary loss of life.

Last week’s tragic death of a child as the result of illegal dumping in Delft also brought to light the staggering costs associated with controlling the effects on residents. The city has identified 985 illegal dumping hot spots, where the mechanical removal and regular clearing of heavy waste from an allocated budget in excess of R200-million annually, comes to a daily allocation of R183 000 alone. This, in addition to 24 cost free, drop-off facilities for building waste, at the disposal of private residents, builders and renovators across the city. Illustrating the huge expense incurred in one single area during the past nine months is R4.3-million spent in Mitchells Plain, on the clearing of illegal dump sites, disposal of such waste, plus vehicles and staff deployed.

Steps taken by the city to bring perpetrators to book

All applicants for major demolitions of commercial buildings as well as residential properties are to submit an Integrated Waste Management Plan to Building Control offices, to include exactly how builders will dispose of building waste, and to be in line with Solid Waste Management (SWM) by-laws.

To increase drop off vehicle capacity currently at 1.3 tons to 1.5 tons for free building waste, also allowing businesses and commercial service providers limited loads free of charge. As three of the 24 drop-off sites are situated on landfill sites, SWM has advised that the same service and conditions be applicable to loads of building waste disposed of at these drop-off facilities. Any vehicles containing building waste not disposing at drop-off facilities must use paid-for services at landfill sites.

Action by rate payers and residents to increase awareness

Property owners can facilitate communication and education via Residents and Ratepayers Associations to local communities. To inform residents of the legal consequences and implications, following admission of guilt fines. Owners and occupants of properties should insist on seeing written and approved waste management plans related to all building, renovations, and demolition sites.

Legal consequences of unlawful dumping

Depending on volumes measured in cubic metres, fines range from R1 000 to R2 000, upward to the upper R100 000’s, relating to ‘serious matters to court’ of heavy industrial dumping. Culpable homicide accusations can result, in the case of human life lost if proven to be the direct result of toxic waste caused by illegal dumping. Offenders not adhering to notices of complaint accompanied by clearing instructions of sites, clearing costs incurred by the city are payable.

Take time to report illegal dumping by calling 0860 103 089

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