Dirty nappies, dead dogs and rotting food continue to flank primary schools north east of Pretoria as the community of Stinkwater wages a never-ending war on public dumping.
Residents who live in New Stand and Stinkwater, north east of Pretoria, have endured disgusting smells from a rubbish dump near Fatlhogang and Refentse primary schools for two years. The dump is heaped with dirty nappies, rotten food and dead animals.
Residents are concerned about the health implications, particularly for children who play in the area.
Deborah Sebothoma lives nearby said she is deeply concerned about her three grandchildren playing outside because of exposure to faeces and other toxic materials in the dump.
Fellow resident Disetlhe Aphane agreed and said that the dumping site was a health risk for children who have to walk past it and who sometimes play on it.
“When I am available, I take it upon myself to discourage the children from the school not to play with or touch the rubbish,” Aphane told OurHealth.
Linda Mahlangu of Fatlhogang Primary School said she had contacted the Expanded Public Works Programme cleaners to remove the rubbish. She was promised that rubbish would be removed as soon as the Department of Environmental Affairs made a removal truck available.
Sebothoma said that she has also complained several times to community leader Sonia Mamabolawa, but nothing had happened.
Meanwhile, OurHealth found another dump site developing near a local church. A local preacher, who identified himself only as Mr Ramotse, said that while the community was responsible for creating the dumps, it was the municipality’s responsibility to clean them up.
“People are hired to keep the streets clean,” Ramotse said. “I would like to see the rubbish removed from all the sites and ‘no dumping’ signs put up in the area.”
When OurHealth contacted Mamabolawa, she agreed that the dumps were a health hazard and said she had already contacted the Department of Environmental Affairs, who had promised to clear the sites within five days.
The dumps were cleared, but soon afterwards re-appeared.