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More than 8 000 environmental health complaints ‘all in a year’s work’<p>Environmental Health is the branch of public health tasked with monitoring, and mitigating factors in the environment that affect human health.<br></p><p>While there are many common denominators in the environmental health sector the world over, in the last financial year (July 2021 to June 2022), Cape Town's Environmental Health Service dealt with an array of complaints and concerns, with the top five being vector control, unhygienic conditions, noise pollution, overgrown erven and air pollution.<br></p><p><span></span></p><figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"><img class="responsive" src="https://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre/health%20interventions.png" alt="" style="width:831px;" /></figure>​​During the period in question, the Environmental Health Service attended to 8 356 complaints from the public – over and above the proactive education/awareness and compliance monitoring that also forms part of their mandate.<p></p><p>In addition, they: </p><ul><li>Installed and serviced well over 60 000 block baiting service points for vector control in public areas and informal settlements</li><li>Conducted 1 338 hygiene education/awareness outreach projects</li><li>Issued 326 admission of guilt fines spanning various by-laws and national legislation like the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act, the Business Act and regulations around hygiene and the transportation of food</li><li>Accrued R1,6m in fines for transgressions in terms of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act</li><li>Tested 8 788 vehicles to ensure compliance with diesel emissions limits<br></li></ul><div><span><figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"><img class="responsive" src="https://resource.capetown.gov.za/cityassets/Media%20Centre/City%20official_%20Kanyisa%20Maqina.jpg" alt="" style="width:895px;" /></figure>​​</span>'These statistics represent but a fraction of the work that our Environmental Health Service gets through in a year. The list is incredibly long, and I don't think we fully appreciate the critical role that they play in our health and well-being. Apart from the more well-known aspects, our EHPs even conduct inspections at barbershops and salons, and also have a hand in matters relating to the safe keeping of animals. And, let's not forget how crucial they were to ensuring compliance with Covid-19 protocols at restaurants, shopping malls and other public facilities,' said the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Service and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.<br></div><div><br></div><p><strong>FOOD SAFETY</strong> </p><p>During the last financial year, EHPs conducted 24 925 inspections at food premises.</p><p>It is a criminal offence to sell or offer to sell any foodstuff that is contaminated or unfit for human consumption and staff have the authority to order the removal from sale of such contaminated or unsafe foodstuffs. </p><p>Of the thousands of premises visited, legal action was necessary at 119 premises, while three others were completely prohibited from trading until the necessary rectification measures were taken by the owners. </p><p>'That is actually a very small percentage of non-compliance when measured against the overall number of premises inspected, which means that the work our staff does day in and day out is having an impact. It's also important to note that theirs is not a punitive approach – education is always the first step, along with time frames for remedial measures. Only in instances of continued non-compliance are fines issued or legal action instituted. So, we implore business owners, particularly those in the food industry, to reach out to their nearest Environmental Health Office for advice and guidance on operating within the bounds of the law. This is a far easier option than the alternative of playing dangerous games with the health of your clients, and paying a far higher price in the end,' added Councillor Van der Ross.   </p><p><strong>HUMAN IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT</strong></p><p>Residents are reminded that their behaviour directly impacts on the ability of the environment to sustain human health.</p><p>Human activities such as indiscriminate dumping, lack of recycling, increased carbon footprints, pollution of water sources, air pollution, increased urbanisation etcetera,  escalate the deteriorating quality of the environment that is essential for human survival in day-to-day life.</p><p>'We want to remind residents that we are all responsible to play a part in preventing diseases and creating health-supportive environments. Human impact on the environment directly affects our health and we all need to take personal responsibility to work towards creating societies that are focused on well-being,' said Councillor Van der Ross.</p><p><strong>CONTACTING ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH</strong></p><p>Service requests/complaints can be logged online via the City's e-services portal: <a href="https://eservices1.capetown.gov.za/coct/wapl/zsreq_app/index.html" target="_blank">https://eservices1.capetown.gov.za/coct/wapl/zsreq_app/index.html</a></p><p>Alternatively, residents can contact the City's call centre on 0860 103 089.</p><p>Other channels of reporting are via your local clinic, or your nearest Environmental Health Office.</p><p>A list is available here: <a href="https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms%2c%20notices%2c%20tariffs%20and%20lists/LIST_ENVIRONMENTAL_HEALTH_OFFICES.pdf" target="_blank">https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms,%20notices,%20tariffs%20and%20lists/LIST_ENVIRONMENTAL_HEALTH_OFFICES.pdf</a><br></p><p>REPORT ILLEGAL DUMPING</p><p>Illegal dumping contributes greatly to unhygienic environments in communities. Together we can stop illegal dumping. </p><p>Residents can also take their recycling to one of the City's free drop-off facilities. See the list here: <a href="https://bit.ly/3dDco8U" target="_blank">https://bit.ly/3dDco8U</a>  </p><p>As part of the #SpringCleanCT campaign, the City is calling on residents to report illegal dumpers to us.</p><p>They could be fined up to R5 000, have their vehicle impounded, or face a 2-year prison sentence.</p><p>For every fine and conviction, we will offer you a reward from R1 000 up to R5 000:</p><p>24-hr tip-off line: 0800 110 077</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:solidwaste.bylaw@capetown.gov.za">solidwaste.bylaw@capetown.gov.za</a><br></p><p>To notify the City about dumping that needs to be cleared please call 0860 103 089.</p><p> </p><p><br></p>2022-09-24T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#0c471f73-8700-427f-94e9-9bec25608dbd;L0|#00c471f73-8700-427f-94e9-9bec25608dbd|Environmental health;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#0113a19a-9f30-4410-bedb-736337f0d4b4;L0|#00113a19a-9f30-4410-bedb-736337f0d4b4|illegal dumping;GP0|#1c7e5bbc-61b6-4569-adfd-2283301afe66;L0|#01c7e5bbc-61b6-4569-adfd-2283301afe66|rodent control;GP0|#ec81fd59-b032-41bb-9d67-e360f7fd0f09;L0|#0ec81fd59-b032-41bb-9d67-e360f7fd0f09|food safety10

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