Litter problem not in the bag

Legal Aid South Africa lawyer Ronelle Arendse and Tiffany Adams.

Councillors are seeing red over blue litter bags that are being left on pavements for days at a time.

At the monthly Sub-council 4 meeting in Parow on Friday March 17, councillors said litter being picked up by Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers ended up back on the street when the abandoned bags broke apart.

Ward 26 councillor Franchesca Walker asked a City cleansing department official why the bags were not removed immediately.

“Why are blue bags left until the next day, two days, sometimes two weeks? Then they are broken open and litter is in the street again,” she said.

She also warned that EPWP workers should be sourced from local communities as the workers’ safety was at risk if people from elsewhere were brought in. She referred specifically to Leonsdale, in Elsies River.

Ward 30 councillor Charles Esau said that when EPWP workers picked up litter it was like “a blue wave for days”.

He wanted to know why City drop-off dumps had been closed after hours. He said the City should consider establishing more drop-off dumps, with extended hours, to curb illegal dumping.

Eugene Hlongwane, solid waste’s cleansing manager, said the City was 30 months behind in dealing with illegal dumping, and 739 dumping hot spots “consumes lots of resources from the City”.

He conceded there might be teething problems with a new cleaning contract that had started at the beginning of February.

“It doesn’t help us to collect the waste, bag the waste and then leave it there,” Mr Hlongwane said.

He said the contractor had failed to comply with tender requirements for cars to be made available, “which is why bags are left behind”.

Mr Hlongwane said it was council policy that drop-offs should be available within a 7km radius.

“We acknowledge we have a problem in terms of availability of drop offs. But any drop-off is open to all residents.”