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EnviroServ to appear over Shongweni landfill

The Shongweni landfill site Picture: Supplied

The Shongweni landfill site Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 28, 2017

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Cape Town - Waste disposal company EnviroServ, which was accused of emitting toxic fumes from its Shongweni landfill, is to be prosecuted on criminal charges.

“A decision to prosecute has been made. Arrangements are under way for the accused to make their first appearance in court,” advocate Moipone Noko of the Director of Public Prosecutions said yesterday.

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A case of contravening the National Air Quality Act was opened by the Department of Environment Affairs (DEA) at KwaNdengezi police station in September last year.

EnviroServ group chief executive Dean Thompson said: “To date we have not seen a charge sheet. Should the matter arise, we will deal with it appropriately”.

Read also: EnviroServ 'sorry' for stench 'inconvenience'

The landfill has incurred the wrath of community members in Hillcrest, Shongweni, Dassenhoek and surrounds, with residents saying the fumes were responsible for increased rates of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, eczema, nosebleeds and other illnesses.

In January, about 2000 residents from affected communities took part in a “toxic trek” through the streets of Hillcrest demanding accountability from EnviroServ and calling for the site's closure.

The landfill is licensed to receive hazardous waste, but since September was suspended from receiving Type 1 (extremely hazardous) waste as part of a compliance notice.

Revoke licence

This month, the DEA issued EnviroServ with a notice of intention to suspend or revoke the licence for the contentious landfill, which EnviroServ is contesting. After months of denying that the noxious odour came from the landfill, EnviroServ eventually admitted in September that it was a “contributor” to the odour.

Earlier this month, the company’s coastal operations manager, Clive Kidd, told media on a site visit that the bacteria desulfovibrio vulgaris contributed to the stench, and that because of a drop in pH level - sanctioned through regulation changes by the DEA - the bacteria had been able to thrive.

However, the company maintained that other industries in the area needed to be investigated and denied any culpability for adverse health being experienced by local residents.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

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