Cape Town. 140122. Just off Govan Mbeki road, nearly opposite to Samora Michel behind a multitude of shacks lining the road, lay a building material dumping site. People scavenge for scrap metal and bricks that can be reused. Shacks surround the high mountain of waste dumped by trucks and bakkies. Reporter Zara Nicholson. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

THE CITY has issued fines of millions of rand for illegal dumping in six months – and will soon have the powers to seize the vehicles used.

The issue came under the spotlight last year when toddler Jordin Lewis from Belhar died after she consumed chemical substances at an illegal dumping site in Symphony Way, Delft.

This week the mayoral committee approved a draft wastewater and industrial effluent bylaw, which now gives the city the power to confiscate any vehicle used to dump waste illegally.

Rudolf Wiltshire, chief for enforcement and security, said between July and December law enforcement officers issued 364 fines.

“For most of these fines, the new (magisterially approved) amount of R5 000 applied, although in some cases the previous R2 500 admission of guilt charge applied.

“Most of the fines were issued in the Philippi Horticultural Area,” Wiltshire said.

The city has identified 985 illegal dumping sites and has since put measures in place to deter the illegal practice, such as increasing fines.

The city has 24 drop-off facilities where private residents can dispose of building waste.

The service is free but limited to vehicles with a carrying capacity of 1.5 tons.

During one operation in October, law enforcement officers issued fines to the value of R105 700.

“Officers have reported zero dumping activity at certain sites in the Philippi Horticultural Area where prolific dumping used to take place. This is mainly due to daily monitoring and enforcement of these locations. However, the offenders often tend to shift their activities to another location within the same broad geographical area. Landowners using their properties as landfill sites is another challenge,” Wiltshire said.

The current wastewater and industrial effluent bylaw does not address regulation of how restaurants dispose of fats and grease.

The draft revised bylaw, which will go to council for approval, will force the food industry to install proper equipment and refrain from discharging fat and grease into the sewer system, which results in blockages and pollution.

The revised bylaw also addresses medical waste dumping, as some hospital laboratories discharge waste as part of industrial waste, which goes into the sewer system.

The city said such laboratories are either unaware of the risks of such dumping or are doing so to avoid costs of proper disposal.

The draft bylaw makes provision to regulate medical waste by not recognising it as industrial effluent and therefore not permitting its discharge into the sewer system.

Last year the city budgeted R200m annually to clear materials at illegal dumping sites.

Between July 2012 and April last year, the city spent R4.3m to clear waste at illegal dumping sites in Mitchells Plain alone.

During a visit to some of the illegal dumping sites last year, the Cape Times saw waste piled about a metre high.

Some of the waste seen at these sites included tyres, old car parts, old furniture, broken toilets, old food, rubble and dirty disposable nappies.

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