WHILE multimillion rand environmental projects are being announced, the Nelson Mandela Bay metro has been rapped over the knuckles over illegal landfill sites.
Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko, visited Port Elizabeth last Wednesday to celebrate World Environment Day, saying the metro should begin to take responsibility for the mess and clean up the rubbish of illegal dumps.
This was Mvokoâ€™s reply when Sanidile Mzanzeka, Ward 23 councillor, asked for money during his visit to help prevent illegal landfill sites.
â€œWe want to set up fences so that no further rubbish is dumped here and we just want to get a net over the canal to keep rubbish out of there,â€? said Mzanzeka.
Mvoko said the request should be addressed to the municipality, but the litter must first be removed before any fences or nets can be installed.
Last week, Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani announced that the city would spend more than R100 million over the next three years on 43 cooperatives that would help make the city greener and cleaner.
Mvoko said that he knew about the project and said it was a good initiative, but its success would depend on how it is structured.
With World Environment Day celebration, Mvoko said it was important for residents to take initiative with projects that would involve a â€œhealthierâ€? environment.
â€œPeople need to see the need in their area and submit a financing project to the government.â€?
Mvoko also announced six environmental projects worth R17.9 billion. It will create 750 jobs across the provinceâ€™s respective district municipalities.
The projects involve the removal of alien plants in the municipalities of Port St Johns, Mbhashe and Mbizana.
In the municipalities of Inxuba Yethemba (Cradock), Koukamma and Walter Sisulu, projects for waste disposal and waste management were funded by the department.
Mvoko encourages the metroâ€™s residents not only to rely on the state for funding, but rather to jump in by starting with something simple like a recycling project.
â€œIf recyclable litter is picked up, sorted and sold on landfill sites, it can be an income for people.â€?
He said with less rubbish on the sites, air pollution, this yearâ€™s World Environment Day theme, will decrease when the garbage is incinerated.
â€œAir pollution is visible through the smoke (of factories or fires) or invisible fumes of a carâ€™s exhaust pipe. Donâ€™t think because the pollution canâ€™t be seen that it does not exist, â€? Mvoko said.
â€œWe cannot speak of air quality without mentioning climate change. The government is committed to disconnecting the economy from carbon sources. Therefore, we encourage renewable energy sources to replace dirty coal fuel power stations.â€?