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​In an effort to win the war against pollution and safeguard the environment, the City of Johannesburg will roll out a phased approach to make separation at source mandatory from July 1 for households.

This is because the biggest challenge the City of Johannesburg faces is to change human behaviour and get people to understand how they impact the environment in the way they deal with plastic.

This was the message the City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Cllr Nico de Jager, shared this week.

On World Environment Day, MMC De Jager rolled up his sleeves, donned a pair of gloves, put on his overalls and started removing mounds of refuse around the Glenville Primary School in Lenasia.

Between bouts of back-breaking work, MMC De Jager paused and told learners and residents that Joburg was mindful that a sustainable city requires partnerships with all communities to protect the environment and ultimately humanity.

The event, held under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, encouraged learners, residents and local businesses to explore sustainable alternatives to reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting rivers and streams that are currently damaging aquatic life and threatening human health.

MMC De Jager said there was a lot of rubbish and that one day was not enough to address the backlog. “But with the community’s involvement, I’m positive this challenge will be effectively dealt with,” he said.

He urged everyone to keep the following in mind: “If you can’t reuse it, then you must refuse it.”

Illegal dumping and littering cost the City around R60 million a year, said Lungile Dhlamini, the Managing Director of Pikitup. 

He said the City’s waste management company, Pikitup, was trying to eradicate illegal dumping spots around Joburg. “We have around 2 000 known illegal dumping spots within the City. Between July 2017 and now, we have eradicated 110 illegal spots.”