There was some relief for the residents of Link Road informal settlement in Brown’s Farm, Philippi, after a group of more than 20 City officials from the departments of environmental health, solid waste and water and sanitation took it upon themselves to clean the area on Tuesday November 19 to mark World Toilet Day.
The residents had been subjected to a putrid stench from communal toilets and a pile of rubbish dumped near their houses.
Officials used the theme “Leaving No One Behind” to also raise awareness about hygiene and proper sanitation.
They said the area was a health hazard. Before the clean-up, the officials and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) members went house to house to rally the residents.
Environmental health spokesman Zanele Figlan said the departments wanted to give residents their dignity back.
“This is not the first and the last campaign. We are going around our areas teaching and educating our residents about the importance of good health. Today, as we celebrate World Toilet Day, we thought of this area. We urge people to clean their toilets and streets. The City has trucks that pick up trash. There are containers that people can use to dump trash.”
She urged residents to work together and take turns to clean their ablution facilities.
She warned of the diseases that could spread through unsanitary conditions.
While members of the water and sanitation department were busy cleaning and repairing broken toilets, some members were distributing toilet paper, toilet cleaners, toilet brushes and hand wash to residents who said they were happy to see people helping in their area.
Vuyo Nobhanga, who lives next to the communal toilets, hoped that the stench will be better after the clean-up. “You do not want to know how bad it is to live near the communal toilets. It is terrible.
“There are times when it is difficult to cook, let alone to eat. On hot days, flies are just all over. The smell becomes unbearable on hot days,” he said.
He believes that the situation can be prevented if residents work together. He condemned those who dump, saying they are posing a danger to children. He said residents should learn to use dumping sites and containers.