A multi-disciplinary team from Kouga Municipality spent four days in Hankey to conduct a clean-up and environmental cleanliness campaign.
About 70 staff members from the Environmental Management and Health sections, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and Law Enforcement were part of the programme.
Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the focus was on cleaning up public spaces where illegal dumping was a problem. The Environmental Health Practitioners also visited businesses to speak about the manner in which they dispose of their waste.
Municipal earth moving machinery and trucks could be seen loading and transporting large volumes of waste to the Hankey landfill site.
Benson said the programme had come about after concerns were raised by community members about the cleanliness of the town.
“When we analysed the situation, it became evident that we would need to treat the clean-up of Hankey as a joint project and pull in as many of our resources as possible.
“Our biggest challenge is still with illegal dumping, in spite of the municipality having provided more skip bins, which are emptied and cleaned twice a week,” he said.
Benson said his directorate would be monitoring the situation and that those who were found to be disposing of waste illegally would be held liable and issued with a fine.
He added that there would, however, have to be more educational and awareness programmes for the public about environmental cleanliness.
“The municipality issues refuse bags to households and there are scheduled days for refuse collection in all areas, but we somehow end up with the same problem every time,” he said.
He appealed to the public to take out their refuse bags only on the scheduled days to prevent animals from ripping open the bags.
“We also found that shops generate a lot of waste but many do not have proper measures in place to dispose of this,” he said.
“Their operating licences hold them liable for any waste around their premises and that is why we brought our Environmental Health Practitioners and Law Enforcement Officers to remind them of this responsibility.
“Shop owners are required to have refuse storage facilities where they keep their waste until collection day. The tendency, however, is to leave refuse on the street curb on any day,” said Benson.
The councillor added that this municipal team would target one hotspot per quarter until the situation improves.