The Environmental Affairs Department closed down EnviroServ’s landfill site for failure to comply with the law. Picture: Fred Kockott
Durban – The Department of Environmental Affairs has closed down EnviroServ’s landfill site for failure to comply with the law, and in so doing potentially threatening human health and the environment.

A statement from the department on Tuesday announced that acceptance, treatment and disposal of waste at the Shongweni site would be suspended within four working days of the waste management company receiving the notice.

In arriving at the decision, the department had “carefully and meticulously considered all of the reasons provided by EnviroServ as to why the company would consider it unfair and inappropriate for their licence to be suspended or revoked”, read the statement.

Representatives of the company were not available for comment after the decision was communicated to the media on Tuesday night.

The suspension would only be lifted upon notice by the department, which would also dictate the conditions.

Lauren Johnson, director of the NGO Upper Highway Air, which this week instituted court action against EnviroServ, said she was delighted at the news.

“Hopefully now we will see more remedial measures put in place to make this go away once and for all.”

The department said that despite many interventions implemented by EnviroServ according to the compliance notice, there was still an unacceptably high level of landfill gases that had been confirmed to be the source of the odour coming from the site.

“The decision to suspend the waste management licence is therefore one of the significant steps to a permanent solution to this catastrophic situation,” the department said.

It found that the company had failed to comply with the law and conditions of their waste management licence.

“It is the department’s view that there is a potential threat to human health and/or the environment resulting from the operations at the Shongweni Landfill Site”

EnviroServ chief executive Dean Thompson is due to appear in court next week after being criminally charged alongside the company on several allegations of contravening environmental legislation.

The Mercury