Municipality 'covers up' illegal pharmaceutical dumpsite

21 Jul 2015 16:50pm
By Pearl Coetzee
WINDHOEK, 21 JUL (NAMPA) – Nearly two months after the Windhoek Municipality was alerted to pharmaceuticals illegally dumped in the periphery of the Rocky Crest residential area, the tablets are still there despite a promise that it had been removed.
It transpired that the boxes of tablets were only covered up with soil.
This reporter discovered the dumped tablets and informed the City of Windhoek (CoW) about it in May this year.
The writing on the weathered packaging of the capsules is illegible, but the silver wrapping in which the tablets is packaged has “Natural (New)” printed on it in green ink. A strip contains six capsules.
The City’s Public Relations Officer Lydia Amutenya at the time promised that their Solid Waste Management Department would investigate and clear up the area.
“The pharmaceutical products were probably dumped before or during the rainy season and there was therefore no potential evidence to trace the culprits. Our solid waste management department will arrange for a clean-up soon and properly dispose of the waste at the designated landfill site,” she told Nampa in May.
On enquiry again last week, officials of the solid waste management unit confirmed that the area had already been cleaned up.
However, when this reporter visited the site on Sunday, it was clearly visible that the tablets were not removed. Tracks of a grader were visible and soil and nearby shrubs have been moved and uprooted and placed on top of the tablets. Several silver strips of tablets were strewn over the area.
Approached for comment, the Environmental Commissioner Theofilus Nghitila said dumping, especially of chemicals, should be done at a designated site.
“If we find somebody trespassing, he or she will face the full wrath of the law,” he cautioned.
Nghitila made specific reference to the Environmental Management Act, Act 2007 (4), which states that a person may not discard or cause to discard waste or dispose of it in any other manner, except (a) at a disposal site declared or approved by the minister in terms of this section; or (b) in a manner or by means of a facility or method and subject to such conditions as the minister may prescribe.
Any person who contravenes subsection (4) commits an offence and is on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding N.dollars 500 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 25 years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment, according to the Act.
Meanwhile, the City of Windhoek’s Manager: Corporate Communications and Customer Care Joshua Amukugo, in an email to this news agency recently, raised the concern about the increase of illegal dumpsites and littering.
“Our great City of Windhoek is renowned as one of the cleanest cities in Africa, if not in the world; a cleanliness status that we want to maintain and protect for future generations, but it is currently threatened by the high rate of illegal dumping and littering in open spaces, riverbeds and around skip containers.
“This is not the environment that we want to live in as it is a health hazard to our communities, particularly children,” he stressed.
He said the council may serve a notice to the perpetrator or occupier of the premises requiring such owner or occupier to remove the waste to the satisfaction of the Council within a period of 14 days from the date of such notice.
If the owner of such waste fails to comply with the requirements of such notice, the Council may itself through services of various systems bill the owner at a cost to the owner (generator) of such waste.