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Common environmental health risks<h2 class="sectHeading">Avoid disease in the home and workplace</h2><p>Washing your hands properly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect against certain diseases like diarrhoea and food poisoning. Download our <a href="" target="_blank">Hand Washing Pamphlet</a> for more information.  </p><p>If you operate a restaurant or other food catering business, it is essential to keep your kitchen or canteen clean and hygienic to avoid food contamination. Our health inspectors conduct regular site visits and all food vendors, including hawkers, are required to have a Certificate of Acceptability certifying that they meet health and safety requirements.</p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading white-copy yellow bg-darker-grey"><div class="graphic"> <i class="info citycard">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>City Connect</h4><p> <a href="">Apply for a Certificate of Acceptability</a>.</p></div></div></span> <p>It’s also harder to spread common environmental diseases when we understand how they are carried and contracted. For more information on environmental diseases, download the <a href="" target="_blank">Common Environmental Health Risks and Diseases Handbook</a>. <span>   </span></p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>Fast fact​</h4><p> <a href="">​TB germs​</a> are easily destroyed by sunlight and fresh air. Try to keep windows and doors open.</p></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Passive smoking</h2><p>Lung cancer – caused mainly by cigarette smoking – is the number one cause of cancer deaths in Cape Town. You may not be a smoker but did you know that, even if you don’t smoke, exposure to someone else’s smoke (also known as passive smoking) can also cause lung cancer? This is why it is so important for us all to comply with the <a href="" target="_blank">Tobacco Control Act<i class="icon link-external"></i></a>. Read our <a href="" target="_blank">Smoking and Tobacco Control Fact Sheet</a> for more information.</p><p> <b>Although the Tobacco Control Act targets mostly public spaces, even in our private environments, the rules are clear:</b> </p><ul><li>It is illegal to sell or give tobacco products (or any sweet or toy that looks like a tobacco product) to anyone under the age of 18</li><li>You may not smoke tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff) in an indoor, enclosed or partially enclosed area that is open to the public – including a workplace and public transport vehicle</li><li>It is illegal to smoke in a car in the company of a child under the age of 12</li><li>It is illegal to smoke in a private house or dwelling that is used for childcare, schooling or tutoring</li><li>It is the responsibility of the owner or person in charge of the public space (or vehicle) to make sure no one smokes there</li><li>A designated smoking area is allowed in a public space if it meets the <a href="" target="_blank">Guidelines for the Design of a Smoking Room/Area</a></li></ul><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Find out more about smoking</a> or download our infographic below to see how smoking not only damages your health, but robs you of other opportunities.<br></p> <span> <div class="infographic bg-font-adjust-bg">​​​​​​​​​​ <figure> <img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" /></figure> <figcaption> <p> <span class="infoGraphicSpan">INFOGRAPHIC​</span><br>​​<strong>COST OF DRUGS - CIGARETTES</strong></p> <a title="title" class="btn dark-blue" href="" target="_blank"><i class="icon download"></i>Download PDF</a> </figcaption> </div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading">Smoke inhalation from fires</h2><p>Smoke from burning fuel (e.g. gas, paraffin, coal or wood) can cause illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, coughing and pneumonia, especially in places with little to no ventilation. Many people die every year from smoke inhalation from indoor fires. Young children, the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable. If you’re creating fires indoors – whether for heating or cooking – make sure you keep your environment ventilated and try and use healthier fire sources.</p><p> <strong>Indoor fires: Tips to reduce smoke pollution</strong></p><ul><li>Choose energy-efficient wood and energy-efficient coal stoves (if possible). These reduce the amount of fuel needed, produce less smoke and save some money.</li><li>If you’re using wood, always choose dry wood. Wet wood is inefficient (a lot of energy is used to dry out the water in the wood before it can create warmth) and releases a lot of smoke.</li><li>If you use an mbawula or other coal stove, ask your supplier for low-smoke coal (if possible). Make an “upside-down fire” – put the coals at the bottom and paper and wood on top – as this releases less smoke. Always light the fire outside and bring it indoors only once the coals are red.</li><li>If you use paraffin, make sure the container is clean – dirty paraffin releases dirty, harmful smoke. Similarly, keep your paraffin stove clean – your fuel will last longer and the smoke from the stove will not be as poisonous.</li><li>Never burn refuse (rubbish), unwanted furniture, copper wire or any other materials – these release toxic fumes.</li><li>Always make sure the room is well ventilated by keeping a window or door open when cooking or using heating appliances which do not use electricity.</li><li>Always make sure there is a chimney or other ventilation for any smoke that is released.</li><li>Build a fire that suits your needs. Don’t build a huge fire for cooking a small meal or heating a small space.</li><li>Be a good neighbour. Do not cause smoke from your fire to be a nuisance to your neighbours.</li></ul><h2 class="sectHeading">Pest control</h2><p>Infestations of rats and flies, which tend to feed on our food waste, can make us very sick as they are vectors for infection. The City places baiting stations for rodent control in public spaces and vulnerable areas but not in the home.</p><p>Help to ensure that your home and surrounding environment is kept pest-free:</p><ul><li>Do not let flies rest on your food</li><li>Try to keep all food stored safely in durable airtight containers (rats can eat through paper)</li><li>Do not touch a rat, even if it doesn't look dangerous – not only do they bite but they may also carry disease</li><li>Throw away all food waste in bins or plastic bags and secure it tightly to keep flies out</li><li>Don't leave food waste on the floor, even if in a plastic bag</li></ul><p> <strong>Do you have a rodent problem?</strong></p><p>City Health offers free rodent control services to residents in poorer communities. Contact your local <a href="" target="_blank">Environmental Health Office</a> or leave a rodent complaint at your <a href="">local clinic</a>.<br></p><h2 class="sectHeading">Waste disposal</h2><p>Poor waste management can be a major health hazard. Although we remove domestic and industrial waste, there are steps you can take to manage your waste safely until it is collected. </p><div class="mobile-scroll"><table> <caption>             <b>Guidelines for a healthier bin environment</b></caption> <thead><tr><th>Do</th><th>Don’t</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Wrap all collected pet faeces in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of properly, daily. </td><td>Never leave decaying matter exposed. Flies love to feed on faeces, rubbish or foods that have gone "off", disposable nappies, fish entrails and rotting grass cuttings. </td></tr><tr><td>Seal wet kitchen rubbish in plastic bags or newspaper parcels before putting it in your bin. This will stop fly eggs from hatching. </td><td>Don’t store your waste bins in the direct sun. </td></tr><tr><td>Use a tough black plastic bag for your household and garden waste. This stops the bag breaking and keeps the flies out.</td><td>Don’t let animals break into your bags. Apply one drop of citronella oil in the bag before closing it. You can get citronella oil from most pharmacies. </td></tr><tr><td>Only put your waste out on the day of collection. </td><td>​Don’t leave your wheelie bin open.</td></tr><tr><td>Kill maggots when you see them! Use an insecticide to kill them and then close the lid. When the bin has been emptied, wash it with a disinfectant and allow it to dry out.</td><td>​Don’t leave loose waste outside your wheelie bin.</td></tr></tbody></table></div>​​​​ <p> <strong>Hazardous waste<br></strong>Household hazardous waste is also a huge risk. Please make sure you <a href="">dispose of your hazardous waste</a> properly. </p><p>Please also see our <a href="" target="_blank">Hazardous Household Waste Drop Off Sites Map</a>.<br></p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info remember"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Remember</h4><p> <a href="">Recycling​</a> is the best way to dispose of waste and maintain a healthy and sustainable environment. </p></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Keeping animals and poultry</h2><p>Many people keep livestock in or near their homes to produce their own food or for security. Keeping livestock in your community can cause a public health threat if they are not cared for properly. The City provides guidelines and has rules for keeping livestock in your community. Follow the City Connect link below to find out how to apply to keep animals.</p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading white-copy yellow bg-darker-grey"><div class="graphic"> <i class="info citycard">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>City Connect</h4><p> <a href="">Apply to keep animals</a></p></div></div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading">Noise pollution</h2><p>Noise pollution can be regarded as an environmental health risk and we have put a number of measures in place to control it. While everyday sounds are not always disturbing or a health risk, sometimes noise can be so loud that it becomes a serious problem. For extreme noise disturbances, call your nearest <a href="" target="_blank"> Environmental Health Office</a>​, our Noise Unit on <em> <a>021 400 3781</a></em>, or our hotline on <em> <a>086 010 3089</a></em>.</p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading white-copy yellow bg-darker-grey"><div class="graphic"> <i class="info citycard">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>City Connect</h4><p> <a title="title" href="">Report noise disturbances in your community</a>.</p></div></div></span> <p> You can also go straight to our <a href="" target="_blank">service requests app​<i class="icon link-external"></i></a>​ and fill out a reporting form. This will take a little longer to finalise but is trackable and will go to the right department. In an emergency, it’s best to call our emergency number above.</p><p> We have also compiled a <a href="" target="_blank">'Wha​​t is Noise’ booklet</a> for residents to help us all work together to control uncomfortable noise levels in our communities. </p><h2 class="sectHeading">Contact us</h2><p> <strong><a href="">City Health Department</a></strong></p><p> <em>Telephone:<br> <a>0860 103 089</a></em></p>GP0|#c67dae96-8d9d-40ba-843a-0b39e72dfc79;L0|#0c67dae96-8d9d-40ba-843a-0b39e72dfc79|Common environmental health risks;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#03d7df1d-5cbf-4874-a5be-4276bc4cceea;GPP|#df0a3405-0ca1-4617-8047-15a034219fee;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711;GP0|#d5c7e5e3-6bb4-4f76-85c8-ff05efcdc8e2;L0|#0d5c7e5e3-6bb4-4f76-85c8-ff05efcdc8e2|Common environmental health risks;GPP|#69af3a35-ae90-45eb-8557-9dcd3cb9880b;GPP|#36dcb5fe-6bfc-4ae9-92d7-8bd08d1f6414;GPP|#af370586-9ba3-404a-9d6e-02066ca42752Be aware of common environmental health risks in around the home, such as smoking and passive smoking, pests and waste.0



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