Illegal dumping in Dunoon is not only a health hazard but also a threat to safety, say residents.
They complain of having to frequently step into the road, taking their chances with passing cars, to get around piles of rubbish on the pavements. And they say the problem is particularly bad in Potsdam Road.
“The City treats people from places like this as second-class citizens,” said resident Andile Tsotsi. “I can guarantee you that if this kind of dumping was in a place like Parklands, City officials would not sleep trying to remove the rubbish and make sure that kind of thing never happens again.
“Is it because higher rates are being paid in communities like that? Does that now make residents of those communities better than people of Dunoon because they can afford more?
“We should all be treated equally, with respect and dignity. By leaving us to live with so much rubbish, the City, and government as a whole, is showing how little they care about us.”
Not all residents agree on who is to blame for the mess. Thandeka Mani said residents should take responsibility for their own actions.
“Some people just want to keep shifting the blame instead of actually looking at the real problem here. It’s the residents of this area that do the illegal dumping. How can we turn around and blame people who don’t even live here for the rubbish?
“Our people that live here are the ones who throw all their rubbish on street corners and in our parks. This is causing rat infestations and other terrible health problems.
“On the main road (Potsdam Road), people have to dodge rubbish on the streets and often have to walk in the road and almost get hit by cars. I think we as residents should look at ourselves and find ways to end this problem we are causing ourselves.”
Mayoral committee member for community service and health Patricia van der Ross said the City cleaned the park on Thandabantu Road at least once a week. “However, because of the constant dumping after hours, the park remains in a dire condition.”
She added that vandalised play equipment had been removed because it was a hazard for young children.
She said the City had put up a fence at the park last month, and the councillor, an NGO and the community would now work together on a plan to use the park as a food garden.
Dunoon councillor Meisie Makuwa said that the City had helped to revitalise the park earlier this year and had provided bins to the neighbourhood.
She said she and other community leaders had urged residents to stop illegal dumping in the parks.
“You won’t notice this trash during the day but at night since it’s being dumped by the neighbourhood,” she said.
“The City provided two large bins per household and in cases where there are tenants, the City advised community members to request a few bins to accommodate everyone living in the yard.”
Community activist Brenda Mayo said the City should work with residents to solve the problem.
“Since people’s health and safety are at risk here, we need sustainable solutions. Yes the City often supplies refuse bags, bins and other clean-up projects, but more can be done,” she said, suggesting the use of education campaigns showing the impact of illegal dumping.
“Residents can help by calling out their fellow residents. People shouldn’t be allowed to just dump anywhere, and we should hold ourselves accountable,” she said.