Makana Environews: Landfill fires and citizen science

LANDFILL SITE WOES
Fires continue to burn at the Grahamstown landfill site, generating toxic smoke that is breathed by all who live downwind. This is occurring despite the fact that the site is fenced and guarded around the clock.
Recently the Masahlule Recycling Business, which had created employment and helped Grahamstown to reduce its landfill waste, suffered two burglaries rendering a large part of their business inoperative. This is disheartening for all those involved in this project.
Recently, a small group of concerned individuals and representatives of Masahlule met with representatives of the Makana Municipality to discuss the ongoing woes of the landfill site.
Mark Price, of Integrated Waste & Recycling Services (IWARS), made it clear that a similar recycling operation at the Port Alfred landfill site was running smoothly and put it down to better security and control of the site.
Masahlule is now looking to change its modus operandi, with a view to running the business as a Buy-Back Centre in the future. This means that all recyclable waste picked from the site would be sold to Masahlule, which would then bale it and sell it on to recycling businesses.
Johann Esterhuizen, assistant director of Environmental Health and Cleansing, said that the municipality was committed to putting out fires as soon as they start burning. The municipality still needs to deliver on this promise, however, and a hotline to report fires might help. Garden refuse on the site keeps the fires burning, and there is potentially scope for setting up an Integrated Development Plan-linked composting project.
The Recycling Forum will meet again in early March to hear of progress made with regard to site security and future plans for Masahlule. We also hope that the weighbridge will soon be in action.

For more information: Simpiwe Mngcongo, simpiwemngcongo@yahoo.com; 076 582 1541.

PUT A CRAB ON THE MAP!
Are you concerned about the health of your local stream or river? School and environmental and community groups countrywide use miniSASS to measure the general water quality of streams and rivers.
In a ground-breaking and award-winning development, the new miniSASS website now includes an interactive Google Earth map and database, which allows miniSASS users of all ages to explore their catchment, find their river and then upload their miniSASS results.
This feature, pioneered by Ground Truth and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), literally puts citizen science on to the map! River health data (including your local urban streams) can be contributed by all in a fun and easy way, with the results visible for the rest of the world to see.
A simple-to-use assessment system, miniSASS is records the presence of macro-invertebrates (small animals) living in a flowing stream/river, using identification guides that can be downloaded from the miniSASS website. The sensitivity of different organisms to water quality is used to determine a score which reflects the condition of your stream. (Note: miniSASS does not determine if the water is safe to drink.)
That done, you can go to the miniSASS website, find your stream on the Google Earth map, enter your results and your score appears as a colour-coded crab on the map indicating the stream’s health. Results are interactive and can be updated. For more about miniSASS and using the map, go to www.minisass.org.
Other water quality resources can be downloaded from the website of our local ‘water watch’ group, the Kowie Catchment Campaign at www.kowiecatchmentcampaign.org.za
Find us Online: www.grocotts.co.za/environews

Contacts for Makana Enviro-News:
Nikki Köhly: n.kohly@ru.ac.za, 046 603 7205 | Jenny Gon: j-gon@intekom.co.za, 046 622 5822 | Trisha Nathoo: nathootrisha83@gmail.com, 078 584 9496 | Nick James: nickjames@intekom.co.za, 082 575 9781 | Philip Machanick: p.machanick@ru.ac.za, 046 603 8635 | Strato Copteros: strato@iafrica.com, 082 785 6403

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About miniSASS Team
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