SAHRC to probe toxic KZN landfill site

13 February 2020 - 07:00 By TimesLIVE
A waste picker at the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, where a number of fires have burnt in recent months.
A waste picker at the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, where a number of fires have burnt in recent months.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The SA Human Rights commission (SAHRC) will launch an investigation into the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, it said on Wednesday.

The move follows ongoing problems at the site, including several "uncontrollable" fires in recent months.

The commission noted other challenges, including: a poor leachate management system, pollution of the environment, non-functional equipment, a lack of gas, as well as a lack of air-quality monitoring.

"These have attributed to the emission of strong toxic fumes and the outbreak of several fires, which are posing severe threats to the sustainability of the environment and to the health and wellbeing of residents in both the local and surrounding communities," said the commission.

"The municipality’s waste management strategy is still primarily reliant on landfill disposal and the lifespan of the New England Road landfill site was already flagged as being close to its exhaustion several years ago."

The commission added that it was "deeply concerned" with the deterioration and current state of the site.

"Given the far-reaching risks and consequences that the site is posing to the environment and to [the] health and wellbeing of all affected communities, the [commission] is committed to ensuring that all necessary steps and/or measures are identified and implemented to remedy the situation and to minimise any further threats to the environment and to the health and wellbeing of the local communities."


X