Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Green Scorpions tackle water pollution

Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, Tasneem Essop, said that this week she had instructed the ‘Green Scorpions’, or Environmental Management Inspectors, to investigate the illegal dumping of waste and pollution in the Klein Vlei and Bokmakierie canals, after she had noticed an increased build up of waste materials as she drove past these canals.

The ‘Green Scorpions’, who have also received complaints from members of the public and residents about the polluted rivers, conduct their site inspections along the section of Jan Smuts Drive which runs up until the corner of Klipfontien Road (and is adjacent to the Bokmakierie residential area) as well as a second site running from the N2, along the Baden Powell Drive towards Stellenbosch and found large amounts of domestic waste, used tyres (in and alongside both canals) and effluent flowing into the canals.

They have now issued a notification of intention to issue a directive against the City of Cape Town for failing in their duty to prevent the illegal dumping of waste and pollution in the Klein Vlei and Bokmakierie canals.

The notification which was issued in terms of Section 28(4) of the National Environmental Management Act was sent to the City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, and compels the City of Cape Town to conduct a thorough clean-up of the two areas within 10 working days.

‘We seriously need to start taking care of our rivers. For far too long citizens of our province have abused these water-ways and become immune to the unsightly state of our rivers, not to mention the serious health hazards that local residents are exposed to, such as those in Bokmakierie. These rivers form a critical part of our eco-systems and I can not believe that we allow people to break the law, dump their waste and leave the most vulnerable of our people to live in these horrible conditions. I am very concerned that we still have not learnt that waste materials are guaranteed to clog up our stormwater drainage systems when the winter rains come. Everyone knows that this will lead to unnecessary flooding and will cost the taxpayer money to fix the problem. We must learn to take better care of our environment and use proper preventative measures. Hence the City of Cape Town, which has a duty of care towards the environment, must not only comply with this notice but they must also empower the local community as part of their preventative approach to waste management.’

‘We want them to take measures to prevent this from happening again but most importantly, we want them to proactively work with local communities and run educational workshops to help create a new paradigm towards waste management and the protection of our environment. Communities also need to take ownership and pride in these water-ways and must help prevent future pollution. I have warned municipalities, during the Cleanest Town Competition that I will adopt a zero tolerance approach to pollution and polluters should see this as a serious warning. The Green Scorpions will not hesitate to take similar action in the future’, said Essop

Failure to comply with the notification of intention to issue a directive could see the ‘Green Scorpions’ issuing a directive against the City of Cape Town which has serious consequences.


Issued by:
Minister Tasneem Essop
Environment, Planning and Economic Development

For further information contact:
Nils Flaatten
Media and Strategic Policy Manager
Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
083 708 7119

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