What is Littering and Illegal Dumping?
Littering: Litter has been defined as the deposit of waste at a place that is an amount less than 200Ltr's in volume.
What problems can it cause?
- Littering and illegal dumping of waste has the potential to cause health and safety risks for both people and the natural environment, it can:
- contain broken glass, syringes, nappies, medical waste and toxic substances like asbestos
- attract rodents, insects and other vermins
- provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos
- block waterways and storm water drains, increasing the potential for flooding and erosion
- Be a potential fire hazard
- attract further dumping
- other antisocial and illegal activities
- Decrease community pride and intesifies the problem
- Builds up next to roads, can block gutters and finds its way into creeks, rivers and onto beaches, it harms and kills wildlife, for example:plastic waste can choke and suffocate birds and marine life
- Even unlikely materials such as soil and garden waste contributes to litter and dumping issues within Bundaberg Region by spreading pests and weeds
- organic waste such as food scraps, contributes to algae blooms in waterways
- Cigarette butts comprise90% waste littered from a vehicle. Plastic and cigarette butts end up in waterways and can be swallowed by marine animals. These animals will slowly choke to death Cigarette butts littered from motor vehicles can also start bush fires, costing lives and damaging property
The Effects of Illegal Dumping
Thousands and thousands of tons of illegal waste are dumped each year around the country. It is a problem that affects people all over the World. A side from the fact that illegal dumping is usually a felony in most states, it has consequences that affect everyone. Even if the dumper is not caught, there are consequences for the illegal dumping. Illegal dumping affects:
- Public Health
- Illegal waste takes up space that can be used for a constructive purposes like farming. Sometimes illegal waste has hazardous substances and chemicals that could cause damage to the soil, the air, and the surrounding groundwater. This water can be carried to water sources that is used for drinking. Improper disposal of materials can pollute natural habitats and cause death to life in a wide area. Trash can be consumed by animals, which can cause their death.
- Broken glass can cause human injuries like cuts which could possibility lead to infections. Illegal trash dumping can be an ideal breeding area for misquotes that can cause life threatening diseases. In fact, EPA says, illegal trash sites with tires cultivate an ideal breeding area “which can multiply 100 times faster than normal in the warm, stagnant water standing in scrap tire casings.” In addition, other animals could cycle through the material which could cause other diseases and illnesses. Fires can become more frequent in such areas, because illegal dumping areas can cause combustion, or arson is common at these type of dumping sites. Lastly, waste dumping could leak into water sources that people drink from.
- The more obvious effects of illegal dumping is it looks ugly. This ugliness affects the value of homes around the community, and possibly the overall moral of the people. Waste dumping can cause surrounding property damage. Illegal dumping costs money. It cost money to clean up and to fix the surrounding damages. A lot of time, businesses can even lose money from surrounding dump sites because they lose business. Lastly, it cost the dumper’s money. It cost him money because he pays taxes and his taxes go to clean up the dumping instead of something else. States pay millions of dollars to clean up dump sites, which has an overall effect on the person dumping.
Msunduzi municipality has developed a long term strategy to curb illegal dumping.
Municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi said at a recent city council executive committee meeting that illegal dumping was a serious problem that gave the city a negative image.
“As the capital city of KwaZulu Natal there should be no visible adverse effects of illegal dumping as the Msunduzi municipality should be able to provide resources to deal effectively with the problem. The municipality, however, has a major problem of illegal dumping all over its jurisdiction, with varying degrees and frequency of dumping,” said Nkosi.
“The worst types of dumping are in the lower middle income to low income areas, in and around informal settlements, and in the main central business districts. It is known that illegal dumping in certain areas such as informal areas is caused by lack of proper refuse collection, but one can only guess why illegal dumping occurs in the areas where refuse collection services are provided,” added Nkosi.
He said various intervention measures that the municipality was planning included education and awareness on attitudes and behavioral change, and legalising some of the illegal dump sites by fencing and providing a skip and a site attendant.
Recycling of paper, plastic, cans, bottles and garden refuse as compost would go a long way in curbing illegal dumping.
To back up these measures law enforcement would include the deployment of peace officers to do monthly reports and compile statistics on prosecutions.
Msunduzi mayor, Chris Ndlela, echoed Nkosi`s sentiments about the state of the city and stressed that these interventions should be cascaded to war rooms as part of the Sukuma Sakhe campaign.
“We have tried our best to eradicate this moral decay in our society but it is obvious more stringent measures are needed if we are to win this war. The various by laws that were implemented are not severe enough to adequately deal with and discourage illegal dumping,” he said.
Many residents were simply not aware of various negative consequences of dumping. I believe that education and awareness campaigning combined with law enforcement can yield good results,” said Ndlela.
The waste management business unit has an education wing, the Keep Pietermaritzburg Clean Association, which would be able to help, he added.
WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THIS ISSUE
🔴people who are aware of the problem
🔶people who are affected
♻️people who contribute to the problem
💙 people who are unaware of the problem
📁people who are trying to curb the problem
💠people who are not affected