Dumped toxic waste source identified

Hazmat assistants, David Mthimkulu and Innocent Mdunue, and Hazmat technician, Rodgers Cele and Zwelakhe Zikhali deposit waste from Game Amanzimtoti into a skip for safe disposal after it was illegally dumped on the banks of the Umbogintwini River. Photo supplied

After nearly three weeks a retailer has responded to the illegal dumping of its waste in Nyathi Road on the banks of the Umbogintwini River near eThekwini’s solid waste collection site.

On Saturday, 6 February a crew consisting of a hazmat technician and assistants from Enviroserv collected the waste which originated from Game Amanzimtoti, which included toxic waste in the form of fluorescent tubes, from the site and the surrounding area and deposited it into a skip for safe disposal.

“A member of Toti Conservancy has been instrumental in identifying the company responsible for this illegal dumping,” said chairman Laura Taylor, who is a waste expert.

“A company is responsible for the safe disposal of their waste using a licensed waste contractor and not a cartage contractor.”

According to Laura, companies can be fined up to R5-million for certain illegal activities involving waste disposal.

“The Umbogintwini River and its catchment has been targeted by people illegally dumping in recent years. Areas such as Lot 1023 have now, at great expense, been cleared, but the culprits have moved to a new area.

eThekweni Municipality does have an enforcement department, but this does not appear to be a deterrent,” said Laura.

Mass Discounters, which owns Game, responded as follows: “Game Amanzimtoti engaged an external contractor to dispose of product and fixturing, including used wooden pallets, wire and fluorescent tubes.

It was our expectation that these would be safely and responsibly disposed of.

Toti Conservancy subsequently advised Game that the products and fixtures in question had been found outside the eThekwini Municipality solid waste collection point.

As an organisation we pride ourselves on our good governance practises, are deeply concerned by the events that unfolded in this case and apologise unreservedly to the residents of Amanzimtoti

We immediately despatched the Amanzimtoti store manager to assess the situation, at which time we realised that the products had not been disposed of in accordance with our product disposal guidelines.

We therefore urgently engaged a specialist waste clean-up company who collected and correctly disposed of the products and fixturing.

We are grateful to Toti Conservancy for drawing this situation to our attention, enabling us to quickly implement remedial action.

The original contractor involved in this situation has been de-listed as a vendor to Game.

As an organisation we pride ourselves on our good governance practises, are deeply concerned by the events that unfolded in this case and apologise unreservedly to the residents of Amanzimtoti.”

Illegal dumping should be reported to Durban Solid Waste on 031-311-8804 or email DSWCustomer.ServiceLine@durban.gov.za.

The original condition of the site.

The original condition of the site.

 

Documentation found in Nyathi Road that linked the illegally dumped waste to Game Amanzimtoti.

Documentation found in Nyathi Road that linked the illegally dumped waste to Game Amanzimtoti.

  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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