Most Joburg citizens have some direct experience of the scourge of illegal dumping. Across the city, vacant pieces of land, once beautiful parks and even heritage sites are used by dumpers. Catching the culprits is difficult, cleaning up the mess is expensive and the negative effects on health, the environment and heritage preservation are massive.
A few weeks ago I travelled past Oxford Park in Parktown and what I saw made my blood boil. The park contains two blue plaques which are installed on the remains of the entrance gates of the demolished mansion Onder Kopjes. The park used to be a great place to bring locals and tourists for a short visit. The highway above with the forgotten ruins below provide the perfect setting for some great storytelling. Alas the dumpers have ruined this scene and brought multiple hazards to the local community. The act is made even more obscene considering that a church and a school are within walking distance.
The Plaques in the Park in 2012 (The Heritage Portal)
Onder Kopjes Plaque (The Heritage Portal)
Marienhof Plaque (The Heritage Portal)
Oxford Park looking good in 2012 (The Heritage Portal)
Another shot of Oxford Park in 2012 (The Heritage Portal)
The photos above show a well kept park with a fascinating piece of Joburg history within it. The photos below tell a different story altogether.
A short distance behind the old entrance to Onder Kopjes the dumping begins (The Heritage Portal)
The illegal dumping behind the old walls is on a massive scale (The Heritage Portal)
Litter in front and dumping behind (The Heritage Portal)
Oxford Park is in trouble (The Heritage Portal)
A tiny section of the park (The Heritage Portal)
Dirty jeans hanging on one of the sections of the wall (The Heritage Portal)
The City has committed to tackling the illegal dumping problem. Let's hope that officials will be able clean up Oxford Park and prevent the dumpers from returning. It is heartbreaking to think of the precious resources that will be used to fix this mess.