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The City of Johannesburg is taking a decisive stand against environmental degradation caused by illegal plastic recycling businesses. Residents living near these enterprises have raised concerns about persistent air pollution, prompting the city’s Environmental Management Inspectors (EMI) to take proactive measures.

In response to mounting complaints, a comprehensive team, including Environmental Health officials, Green Scorpions (EMIs), Emergency Management Services, and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, descended on No 39 Bansfield, Industrial North. The target: “Jin Shan Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd,” accused of emitting harmful fumes day and night, affecting the local community.

The team demanded compliance documentation with environmental laws, specifically the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 10 of 2004. Shockingly, the company failed to produce any documentation, leading to the immediate arrest of the manager.

During the court trial, a surprising twist unfolded as the Magistrate court initially declined to proceed due to the manager not being the owner. However, the City’s legal team intervened, securing an interdict within two weeks, emphasising the municipality’s commitment to enforcing environmental laws.

Adhering to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, the City issued notices of intention to act against the company. With no response from the company, the interdict was executed. Within a week, the company ceased operations, removing equipment, and shutting down despite claims of intending to rectify their actions.

Operating without the required Atmospheric Emission License, Environmental Authorisation, and/or Waste Management License constitutes a criminal offense. The potential penalties, including fines up to R10 million and imprisonment up to 10 years, underscore the severity of such environmental violations.

Benedict Itholeng, Assistant Director: Compliance Monitoring in the Impact Management and Compliance Monitoring Unit, commended the Bosmont community for reporting the environmental malpractice. Itholeng stressed the importance of citizens knowing their rights and urged them to report any violations to the municipality.

“Business must do business in line with the legal requirements including municipal bylaws,” he said.

Itholeng highlighted previous successes in closing similar businesses in 2022, noting the City’s commitment to upholding legal and bylaw standards.

“In 2022, another company doing the same thing with the school in its vicinity was closed.  Another company which was using water from the fire hydrant was also closed in the same industrial area”.

The Assistant Director underscored a clear message to businesses: compliance with national laws and local bylaws is non-negotiable.

“The closure of companies using the same practices near schools and accessing water unlawfully sends a powerful signal that adherence to regulations is a prerequisite for operating in the City,” Itholeng emphasised.

He said the municipality was committed to sustainable economic development while safeguarding the environment.

“The City wants businesses to thrive and provide economic benefits to local communities while ensuring sustainability through optimal use of the existing natural resources and ensuring that the environment is protected,” said Itholeng.


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