Enviro group urges landfill safety

New England Landfill site

Ntsiki Mhlakwane, 56, was accidentally crushed to death at the site by a waste compactor. Workers on-site said the compactor was doing routine compaction of dirt and trash when the waste picker’s clothing got caught in the machine.
Her remains were discovered when the driver of the compactor noticed that the machine was not working properly and stopped to see what the problem was.
Realising what had happened, the traumatised driver immediately summoned help from emergency services.
For several hours thereafter Mhlakwane’s crushed body remained at the scene while groups of workers and relatives who also work as waste pickers on the site waited for the body to be removed. The current strike at the Fort Napier mortuary is hampering post mortems and body collections throughout the city.

Also read: Waste picker killed at landfill site
GroundWork campaign manager Musa Chamane said injuries and deaths could be avoided if the municipality considered the implementation of the material recovering facility that was set to be built in 2012.
“A recycling warehouse, a material recovering facility is a much safer option,” he said.
Describing the warehouse, Chamane said it would be more conducive and safer where a truck drops off the waste material, and dry-waste material is processed in the warehouse.
He continued, “The landfill staff continuously face many challenges, such as running out of diesel for the compactor and trucks, which impacts on their operations and fuel emissions produced by the compactor are hazardous.”
Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, said the city was looking at creating buy-back centres to increase recycling rates. She said the buy-back centres will temporarily replace the plan to have a materials recovery facility.
Mafumbatha added that the driver of the compactor and fellow waste pickers were receiving counselling.
Alexandra Road SAPS spokesperson, Captain Kholeka Mhlongo, said investigations were underway and an inquest docket had been opened.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

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Enviro group urges landfill safety

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