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Kgatleng Council Petitioned Over Pilane Landfill

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Burning Pilane Landfill
Kgatleng District Council (KDC) received two petitions last week, one from Rasesa residents complaining about a stench caused by the burning fire from Pilane landfill and another one from some dikgosi and councillors.

Council chairperson, Dan Molokwe confirmed the petition on Saturday. “It is true we have received two petitions, one from Rasesa residents and another one from some councillors and dikgosi regarding Pilane landfill.

Currently, our council does not have funds to do maintenance or the expansion of the landfill. We are trying our best to look for funds.

At first, we had submitted a budget of P279 million to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, but we were given P149 million which is mainly the payment of salaries.

Most major projects that the council has planned have been affected by lack of finance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government has diverted money to fight the disease,” Molokwe said.

He said they are meeting the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development on the issue of the Pilane landfill. In addition, he admitted that the situation is bad at the landfill. He said they found it like that when they took over the office and they are trying their best to restore the situation.

Molokwe said his council is also worried about the current situation and the fire at the Pilane landfill.

In their petition, Rasesa residents stated: “We wish to express our strong dismay and concern regarding the Pilane Landfill, where a fire has been burning since the early hours of Sunday (April 25, 2021).

The resultant pollutants from this fire, are discharged into the immediate environment, particularly residents of Rasesa South West, West and fellow residents of our immediate neighbourhoods of Bokaa, Pilane, and Morwa, including Dikgonnye, bear the heaviest brunt of these pollutants.

We do not know whether or not there

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is a Risk/Incident Response Plan from the Kgatleng District Council to be activated to mitigate against dangerous pollutants coming out of an incident of this nature.

We would like to remind the council that this is not the first [time] the Pilane Landfill is on fire in recent past years; for example in 2020 the fire smouldered for almost two months.”

The residents said they are aware of the official communique that was issued by the council, particularly regarding the closure of the Landfill, however, they believe the closure is inadequate as it does not address the immediate and long-term solutions necessary to address the Landfill fires and the resultant toxic pollutants.

The concerned residents said with the COVID-19 pandemic they cannot afford to have the Landfill fires adding toxic pollutants compounding possible health issues, thereby having the effect of aggravating respiratory diseases for people who are suffering from such: for example, those with asthmatic conditions.

“Neighbourhood residents have been experiencing bad and irritating smells from the burning Landfill caused primarily by hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which are produced during the breakdown of waste material.

The immediate health effects of these gases, in the short-term exposure (typically of up to about two weeks), can result in coughing, irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headache, nausea, and breathing difficulties in some people; and the majority of our residents have already been reporting incidents of this nature.” The residents demanded the council to come up with a long term plan of managing the landfill fire outbreaks in short term, and limit the number of unauthorised people accessing the landfill.



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