City employees, residents chip away at illegal dumping
Illegal dumping remains one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Johannesburg and on Friday, September 2, a multi-entity City operation combed vast swathes of Diepsloot in a bid to rid the Region A township of the scourge.
Led by Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), the massive clean-up campaign also involved municipal-owned entities and departments such as Pikitup, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department and the Environmental Health Department.
Clad in brightly coloured work suits and working in scorching heat, City officials and employees, who were joined by members of the public, removed excessive refuse and re-tarred roads along JB Marks and Tlou streets in Diepsloot’s extensions 4 and 7.
“After seeing that many regions of Johannesburg have excessive refuse, dirt and rubble, we saw the need to initiate this operation. We are not only cleaning the area but we are also changing the culture of living among residents,” said Bertha Peters-Scheepers, JRA’s Operations Manager.
“Dumping is one of the biggest challenges we are battling with. When people dump things, everything gets washed down the drains and block storm water pipes,” she added.
Peters-Scheepers warned that dumping created a hazardous environment and could cause flooding due to clogged storm water pipes.
“The other issue we are facing is illegal car washing facilities. The water that comes from these facilities erodes the concrete in our tarred roads. That is one of the reasons we are always patching up,” she said.
Pikitup, the City’s waste management entity, educated residents about the importance of a clean environment.
“We are giving residents information about disposing of their refuse in their households. Residents are free to communicate with our officials regarding any challenges they might encounter,” said Mpumi Mthethwa, Pikitup’s Regional Manager. Mthethwa also said the operation would continue as the entity intended to sustain the culture of cleanliness. Without the community we will not achieve our goals,” she said.
“In many instances we find that people are unknowingly causing a hazardous environment simply because they have no information,” Mthethwa added.