by Slade van Wyk – The community of Mariannridge is slowly becoming polluted. A lack of refuse bins are the root cause of this issue. Refuse is excessive, unsanitary and uncontrolled resulting in an unclean, untidy and tatty living environment.
The issue of waste began in 2013, just after the community took to the streets to protest about their lack of housing. This housing protest turned into a violent encounter that was equally disruptive and destructive. “Coming from a community that already ‘lacked resources’ it was unfortunate that what we had (refuse bins) was destroyed just to get our voices heard,” said a local from the area.
This demonstration erupted when residents in the area found themselves in the midst of uncomfortable living conditions, so the solution was to take to the streets to get their voices heard. Looting and rioting, residents made use of anything that was in the way to block roads and cause unrest in the area. The community bins were burnt and destroyed in the outrage. The outcome of this event has been unsuccessful as no plans of housing development have been exposed to this day.
Prior to the housing protest, a local community organisation had liaised with the local municipal offices and the solid waste office to provide refuse bins as the community was in a polluted state. These officials kept to their agreement providing rubbish bins, they (local municipal offices) even went beyond what was asked and also provided the community with refuse bags to assist the collection process of the job. The provision of refuse bags has continued on a monthly basis.
I would like to pose some questions to the community, or rather begin a dialogue or conversation; I would like to know if we (the residents) do not realise the issue at hand and try to resolve it, then who will do it on our behalf? When is the right time to step in? How much longer must we marinade in our own rubbish, no pun intended, until we realise that we are in a crisis? How do we go about solving this issue? Who do we (the community) contact and hold accountable for resolution? And lastly how do we ensure that the same actions do not repeat themselves and lead us into darkness again?
Our living environment needs a face lift; it is unhealthy to live with waste surrounding us daily! This issue needs to be reported and re-reported until something is done about it. We need to raise awareness to our locals and make it known that living in this state is a danger to us and to the natural environment. Officials may sit back and lack interest but actions have to be taken. Simply asking for assistance could be all we need to work out this problem.
We can begin solving this problem by creating awareness of the importance of a clean living environment. Local community organisations, that have a vested interest in the community, can assist by providing platforms to inform community members of the actions we can take to resolve the issue at hand. Fund raisers could aid the burden and provide garbage bins that we could situate in designated spaces.
If we claim that this is our community and our home, we should not sit back and suffocate for our own mistakes; we can serve penance for our sins and work towards a beneficial solution.