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Health concerns over fires at Cederberg landfill site

Residents of Lamberts Bay in the Cederberg Municipality have raised concerns for their health over the recurrence of burn in the landfill site that has been burning on the banks of the Jackals river. Picture - supplied.

Residents of Lamberts Bay in the Cederberg Municipality have raised concerns for their health over the recurrence of burn in the landfill site that has been burning on the banks of the Jackals river. Picture - supplied.

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Irate Lambert’s Bay residents in the Cederberg Municipality have raised health concerns about air pollution emanating for the burning of waste at a landfill site that on the banks of the Jakkalsriver.

The residents's petition on social media calling for a permanent solution to resole the matter has garnered more than1 300 signatures.

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A resident Carelia Kuhn said the site has burnt 10 times since March and the health of the municipal workers who work in the waste area was of a major concern as well.

“The residents and the municipal dump site workers of Lambert’s Bay have been breathing the toxic fumes for over a (three) months. Sometimes we can’t go out of doors or even open our windows without feeling ill,” she said.

Kuhn said Many complaints have been submitted to Municipality to no effect.

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The municipality said the landfill site was legal and licensed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and people who illegal entered the site caused the the fire.

“People entering illegally in search of valuable material. Rubber around copper cables are often burnt away to expose the copper for resale. This leads to fires at the site,” said Anthony Mlata, municipal spokesperson.

Malta conceded that the fire could harm to the environment, vegetation, animals and pose health risks to human beings.

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“Air quality pollution as a result of dark smoke emanating from the fires at the landfill site could result in possible health related risks to humans and animals living nearby due to smoke inhalation,” he said.

He said the Cederberg Municipality has resolved to enter into an agreement with the West Coast District Municipality and the Matzikama Local Municipality to participate in a regional landfill site.

“The site shall be constructed within the Matzikama Local Municipality jurisdiction. Once the regional landfill site is in operation, existing landfill sites within the Cederberg Municipal jurisdiction shall be operated as building rubble only sites,” said Malta.

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The municipality previously told Weekend Argus that there are five sites in the municipality that need to be closed due to either full capacity or poor location.

“Important and vulnerable aquifers under most of its municipal area make Cederberg an unsuitable location for waste sites,” said the municipality.

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