Bad smell plagues residents in the east

The Garstkloof landfill site which is now used as a composting site. Photo: Liam Ngobeni

There is no bad smell at the Garstkloof landfill site. That was the verdict following an on-site inspection by city of Tshwane environmental health inspectors on Wednesday.

Elarduspark, Moreleta and Wingate park residents have been up in arms about a horrible stench plaguing the area near the landfill site.

The smell, which has been in the area for a while, according to ward 47 councillor Rita Aucamp has caused great concern to residents living in the vicinity. Apparently the pungent smell is worse in the evening and early hours of the morning.

Councillor Aucamp, officials of New GX Enviro and City of Tshwane environmental health inspectors were on-site on Wednesday to try and pinpoint where the smell may be coming from.

No smell was however detected by any of the parties present.

The onsite inspection was a follow up to another one held by city of Tshwane environmental health inspectors on 9 October. No odour was detected at this inspection either.

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An investigation is however still underway. Residents who have previously complained about the odour in these areas will be visited by inspectors as part of their investigation into the matter.

Aucamp said the environmental inspectors are working to solve the problem and are currently engaging with residents to help hasten the process.

The Garstkloof landfill site stopped burying waste in January 2014, according to NEW GX Enviro managing director Masopha Moshoeshoe.

However, the closure process for the site had not been completed. As such the site was still officially active and operating legally in terms of its permit conditions.

The site is now used as a composting site.

Only shredded garden waste (such as grass cuttings, branches and such) is still being dumped there. Most contaminants are removed at garden refuse drop-off sites before being shredded. Therefore the resultant mulch has not attracted anyone scavenging the site for materials to recycle.

About 4 000 tons of shredded garden waste is now dumped at the site per month. The waste comes from garden refuse drop-off sites at Menlo Park, Rooihuiskraal and Kruger Avenue.

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“The garden waste currently created at the Garstkloof landfill site is used at homes, businesses and schools for gardening, landscaping, horticulture and agriculture,” said Moshoeshoe.

The current alternative to composting garden waste would be to bury the garden waste in landfill sites.

This is, however, a less environmentally friendly solution.

“The current site is part of the city of Tshwane’s carbon footprint saving initiative,” he said.

“When garden waste decomposes in the absence of oxygen as happens in a landfill site, it produces methane. This has a global warming potential 28 to 36 times that of carbon dioxide. Whereas when garden waste is composted in the presence of oxygen, it produces mainly carbon dioxide and heat.”

Over the past year the City of Tshwane and its partners have diverted 35 511 tons of shredded garden waste from being buried in landfill sites and created 19 new full-time jobs in the process, Moshoeshoe said.

 

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  AUTHOR
Liam Ngobeni
Journalist

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