Reiger Park residents sick and tired of all the rubbish

A giant illegal dump site near the St Anthony's Education Centre in Reiger Park.

Illegal dumping continues to be a major public nuisance and one of the leading sources of health and safety risks in Boksburg.

Despite “no dumping” warnings, vacant land and roadsides across the city continue to be used as illegal dumping sites by businesses and individuals.

However, out of the doom and gloom illegal dumping causes, there is a group of community members who have decided to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.

Prompted by these sprawling illegal activities, Reiger Park residents have teamed up and made it their duty to keep their township clean by ridding it of the piles of rubbish blanketing almost every open space and roadside in the area.

The residents started off by cleaning up the mountains of rubbish dumped outside Goedehoop Primary School in Abraham Foster Street on February 21.

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The following day they attacked the heaps of trash on Gerry Oberholzer Street, and they promise to clean up all the other affected areas in the days to come.

Explaining why they decided to take matters into their own hands, team leader Steven Daniels said they felt that, as residents, they also have a role to play in protecting the environment, thereby helping Reiger Park residents to also live, work and raise their children in a clean and safe environment.

“We decided to clean up and care for our environment because it’s sad to see our area being trashed by the same people who are supposed to care for it. It just shows that we don’t love ourselves,”

“Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘you must be the change you want to see in the world’, and this is what motivated us to step up and do something.”

He also reminded illegal dumpers that their activities pose health and safety risks to all members of the community, including their own families.

Cleaning up one of the giant illegal dump sites in Reiger Park are some of the members of the newly established team who have taken it upon themselves to rid their area of rubbish.

  • Youth Empowerment

Apart from protecting the environment and ridding the area of the dumping eyesores, the team’s long-term plan is to turn the situation to the advantage of unemployed youth of the township.

“In a bid to empower unemployed youth, we have decided to sort recyclable material such as bottles, paper and plastics while we’re cleaning up,” said Daniels.

“Once sorted, the different types of waste will then be sold to recycling companies, and the profit made will benefit those participating in the clean-up campaigns.”

The cleaners hope that their initiative will change people’s behaviour when it comes to disposal of their waste material.

An illegal dumping site in the Angelo informal settlement.

  • Support

Daniels and his team also call upon the metro to help them curb the problem by sponsoring them with bins, tools and other cleaning materials.

The team encourages other residents to become involved in this kind of volunteer work, aimed at keeping the area free from rubbish.

Most importantly, the team urges residents to make a commitment to keep the paved and grass verges outside their own homes rubbish-free, as well as public facilities, streams and empty land sites.

Hard at work: Cleaning up one of the illegal dump sites in Reiger Park are some of the members of the newly established team who have taken it upon themselves to rid their area of rubbish.

  • Ward councillor says cleaners deserve special praise for their efforts

The ward councillor for the area, Charlie Crawford, applauded the community members for their efforts to protect the environment, saying he is fully behind any efforts to try and change the township for the better.

Crawford said he had been involved in a number of initiatives and discussions about rubbish dumping in the community in recent years, but the trash problems in the area continued to grow worse by the day – creating health challenges and making Reiger Park a smelly township.

He also reminded residents that illegal dumping is a criminal offence.

In Comet, people even use the old ERPM cemetery as a site for disposing of rubbish.

To report illegal dumping, residents should call the Boksburg customer relationship management department on 011 999 4143 or the Ekurhuleni call centre on 0860 543 000. @MthuphaFanie

Fanie Mthupha

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