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The young people of Matholesville in Roodepoort showed they cared for their environment by cleaning up the streets and illegal dump sites in their informal settlement.
YOUNG people went hands-on to clean their surrounding environment during the City’s Environmental Awareness Campaign on Friday, 10 June, as part of Youth Month commemorations.

NtseanaWard councillor Sebaelo Ntseana helps clean up MatholesvilleThe youth of Matholesville in Roodepoort woke up to a busy day, cleaning up the streets and illegal dumping sites in their neighbourhood.

Matholesville, an informal settlement in the south of Joburg, is one of the hot spots of illegal dumping in the City, characterised by piles of refuse lying in the streets, on street corners and illegal dumping sites. Nevertheless, this is a situation that an organised group of youth is determined to stamp out.

“For this situation to change it must start with us. Everybody living in this place has a responsibility to ensure that our environment is free of illegal dumping.

“It is little things that make a difference.  Picking up a piece of paper or a bottle, throwing it into a dustbin, and dumping refuse at an authorised dumping place will go a long way in making Matholesville a clean and desirable place to live,” said Sebaelo Ntseana, a ward councillor in the area.

Ntseana said it is important that young people actively participate in initiatives of this nature as they are the pillars of the community. “If we want to build communities that work, we should start with young people.

“In the near future we will be engaging with organisations like Johannesburg City Parks to help us in setting up environmental programmes in the form of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), to assist our youth in terms of skills training,” said Ntseana.

On the day, the City’s department of environmental health led teachings about preserving the environment and the dangers associated with illegal dumping.

Speaking to the youth, Richard Tsele, the operational manager of environmental health,  said, “there is a direct link between illegal dumping and health. Illegal dumps are excellent breeding grounds for germs that cause numerous illnesses.”

CleaningPicking up litterHe said domestic rodents can potentially spread salmontella, bacteria that cause food poisoning through their droppings.

Tsele also encouraged the culture of recycling and the re-use of materials. “When going shopping, make use of the old plastic bags instead of buying new ones. This will also help us great deal in minimising environmental pollution.”

Residents were urged to dump refuse at authorised dumping places only. Pikitup, the City’s waste agency, operates in the area. Tsele appealed to residents to report illegal dumping to the Council on 011 761 0206 or 011 375 5911 after hours.

In ensuring that local spaza shops and liquor outlets comply with the City’s public health by-laws, environmental health practitioner Deborah Hlabago said informal enterprises must register with the health department to get certification.

Once these businesses are registered with the City, she said, health inspectors will visit them regularly to ensure that they meet the required health standards.

The environmental health offices are based at number 100 Christian de Wet Street or can be contacted on 011 761 0343.

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