THE Environmental Management Inspectors, otherwise known as the "Green Scorpions", are investigating illegal polluting and dumping of waste in the Klein Vlei and Bokmakierie river channels.
The investigation comes after Tasneem Essop, Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, recently drove past the channels and noticed the abundance of waste.
Essop made it known that she planned to issue a directive against the City of Cape Town for failing to keep the river channels clean.
The notification was sent to city manager, Achmat Ebrahim, and demanded the channels be cleaned within 10 working days.
This means by Thursday, 21 February the river channel should be up to standard.
Says Essop: "We want the city to take measures to prevent this from happening again but, most importantly, we want them to pro-actively work with communities and run educational workshops to help create a new paradigm towards waste management and the protection of our environment."
Should the City of Cape Town fail to comply, a directive from the Green Scorpions could be issued, which could result in charges being laid with the police or a request being directed to the Cape High Court for an urgent interdict to force the city to comply.
After being asked what would have become of the channels had Essop not driven past, Essop's spokesperson, Nils Flaatten, says: "The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning monitors all channels as well as responds to complaints laid."
Charles Cooper from the City of Cape Town's media enquiries says the city has been running educational programmes on this front and has placed many advertisements in print media with cartoons that indicate what should be done with waste. According to Cooper, different departments are responsible for solid waste (such as personal and business bins being removed) and for storm water and drainage.
In this instance, the two departments seem to overlap. This means they would jointly have to see to it that the waste is cleaned.
"Waste and litter is a problem right across the city and we need people to give statements against those who dump so they can be locked up," says Cooper.
He urges people to call the general enquiries number on 0860 103 089 to report such crimes.
Nombulelo Ntloko, councillor for ward 44, says the council regularly removes waste after a complaint is made and they act speedily to reports of waste and dump areas.
"Our community is taking care of their areas, but there will always be bad elements that dump when no one is looking," says Ntloko.
Councillor for ward 46, Abduragiem Orrie, says his ward has many areas that see waste being dumped, but cleaning it regularly does not seem to get the message through to those doing the dumping.
He said there is a church in Red River Street in Manenberg where waste is always being dumped.
"Please don't dump. Rather put your waste in black bags and if you cannot dispose of it properly, call me and I will make sure it is disposed of."
He is compiling programmes to educate people about waste and asks the community to contact him to discuss suggested programmes.
Phone Orrie on 084 224 0003.