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Often the public directs its frustrations toward the Municipality and rightfully so. However, when looking at illegal dumping throughout the community, the local Government institute is continually left dealing with this perpetual poor social habit.
On Monday, 15 February 2021, Newcastle Municipal workers once again found themselves working on the daunting task of cleaning up mass amounts of rubbish, at the Barry Hertzog Park Shopping Centre. An overwhelming stench filled the air as Municipal workers waded through the pile of refuse in the centre’s parking lot—cleaning up the mess left by residents.
Addressing the matter, Ward Councillor Matthew Shunmugam elucidates, “In some cases, illegal dumping is a result of bad social habits and most people are not environmentally conscious. Furthermore, people don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions.” He elaborates by stating that illegal dumping can impact Newcastle’s infrastructure. “For example, if you dump your cooldrink bottles, and it rains, these bottles can be swept into the stormwater drains. This in turn, affects the water flow and block the system. So, indirectly, your actions can impact the welfare of others.”
Mlungisi Khumalo, Head of Communications at Newcastle Municipality, concurs with Cllr Shunmugam’s sentiments. “Illegal dumping can sometimes overstretch the municipal workforce. I urge members of the public to refrain from illegal dumping and to think of the health risks before they dump refuse.” With the Newcastle Municipality offering refuse removal services, Cllr Shunmugam states it is concerning this problem exists in town. “People are not always putting their rubbish out on collection days. But you are paying for the service, so you should make use of it.”
Khumalo also reminds community members, residents can face hefty fines if caught dumping their refuse illegally in town—ranging from R1 000 to R4 000.
Looking at solutions, Khumalo adds the Municipality will embark on an aggressive program, educating community members of the health risks related to illegal dumping. One of the main reasons for this is, as he explains, is due to people being unaware of health-related issues stemming from this social ill. “As a municipality, this gravely concerns us, especially since those who are guilty have no regard for the wellbeing of others.”
Khumalo now extends a call-to-action to Newcastillians on behalf of the Newcastle Municipality, urging them to consider future generations and refrain from illegal dumping. “Newcastle is a beautiful town, and we should all work together in keeping it clean,” he concludes.
To report illegal dumping, be sure to contact the Newcastle Municipality Community Services Department on 034 328 7756/ 034 328 7636.
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