A recent veld fire in the vicinity of Main Reef Road near Lilianton has again drawn attention to the ongoing issue of tire burning, which has persisted unchecked for at least five years, resulting in severe environmental and health concerns.
Local residents, who have been unsuccessfully urging the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) to take decisive action against this illegal practice, blame the city’s alleged lack of a strong stance against those involved.
According to the city, some individuals burn vehicle tires to extract the metal threads for resale to scrap yards.
The latest tire-burning incident, reported on August 24, led to a runaway veld fire that threatened homes and municipal infrastructure. In addition to the harmful effects of air pollution caused by toxic smoke, residents fear property damage from these fires.
Residents have engaged with authorities for years to address the dangerous practice, but they claim the CoE has failed to respond effectively.
Despite the law being clear on the matter, including the National Environmental Management: Waste Act and the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, residents say that the city has not held anyone responsible for the practice or taken adequate action to mitigate its impact.
Residents have also reported health issues from the burning tires’ highly toxic chemicals.
The city plans to address the problem by involving various departments, issuing notices to non-compliant tire dealers, seeking assistance from the Waste Bureau Agency for safe tire disposal, and more.
Residents are encouraged to report such issues to the EMPD and the Department of Waste and Environmental Resources for environmental pollution concerns. For emergencies related to fires, residents should call the emergency Life Threatening Call Centre Number at 011-459-0911.
Despite past investigations and promises to address the problem, tire burning continues, and residents are frustrated with the lack of effective action from the city.
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Photo: Supplied by Citizen