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Recycling and sewage surveillance

Crime reported in May 2020

Housebreaking
Van Iddekinge Avenue x2

Theft of a motor vehicle
Duff Street

Theft from a motor vehicle
Benade Drive


Recycling in Fichardt Park

There have been many articles about recycling in Fichardt Park in our glossy magazine and the newsletter, and with recycling in our households we, as Fichardt Park residents, make a huge difference, to not only in reducing our carbon footprint, but also the environment and the conservation of our precious biodiversity.

Data kept since July 2015 shows the amount of recyclable material that would have gone to the landfill area to be 988359 kg = 988,359 tons until 31 May 2020 (only in Fichardt Park). The data includes those from supermarkets, the hospital, doctor’s rooms and pubs. Since the recycling takes place every second and last Saturday of a month between 09:00 and 11:00 at the parking lot of Pick ‘n Pay, next to the library (June 2018 to 31 May 2020), 23 711 kg of recyclable material were collected from households. The service provider sorts the material and then sells it to the local “Buy-back Centres”. The products are then sold to various recycling companies across South Africa.

From this, the following products are made:

Plastic: Most plastic we buy or see on packaging has a symbol on the plastic, which is a triangle arrow symbol with a number inside the triangle. The number represents the kind of plastic the item is made of. Each number represents the chemical composition of the plastic. The numbers from 1 to 7 will indicate the type of plastic. See below

Plastic 1. PET – Polyethylene terephthalate
This plastic is one of the most commonly used plastics used in food and beverage packaging. Most soft drinks and water bottles are made of PET plastic. The plastic is very popular with the informal recyclers (street pickers) because it has “good” value. It takes about 30,000 PET bottles to make 1 ton of recycled PET plastic. When it is processed, new bottles, fibre for duvets, coat linings, pillows, sleeping bags, and jeans are made. The green PET bottles are recycled as roof insulation, while brown PET bottles are again used for the production of “Plastiwood” which is used for making garden furniture, sofas and floors.

Plastic 2. HDPE – High-density polyethylene
It is a hard plastic used to manufacture of a variety of containers. It is commonly used for bottles of detergents, toiletries, cosmetics and toiletries.
When the plastic is recycled, it is used to make garbage bins, buckets, bottles for cleaning products, fence posts, pipes and plastic furniture.

Plastic 3. PVC – Polyvinyl chloride
This type of plastic is difficult to recycle and most Repurchase Centers do not accept it and, therefore, the type of plastic is phased out and PET is used as a substitute.

Plastic 4. LDPE – Low-density polyethylene
It is a soft plastic used for shopping bags, sails and squeeze bottles. When it is recycled, sails, soft containers and construction sails are produced.

Plastic 5. PP – Polypropylene
The plastic is used for making ice cream containers, straws, microwave plates and containers, kettles, garden furniture, food containers and bottle lids. The plastic is recycled for the production of laundry pegs, drums, pipes, funnels, car batteries and plastic trays.

Plastic 6. PS – Polystyrene
These are all polystyrene (Foamelite) products. It is used to produce containers for take away meals, clothes hangers and yogurt containers. When recycled, curtain rails, rules, seed containers and photo frames can be produced. The plastic is used more and more in the building industry as ceilings, etc.

Unfortunately, there are no recyclers in Bloemfontein who accept this plastic. Please do not put it in your recycling bin.

Plastic 7. Other
This type of plastic represents a variety of other plastic products. Some of the products are made from a variety of polymers that do not make it suitable for recycling in South Africa and must be added to the normal refuse stream. Please do not put it in your recycling bin.

Glass
Glass can be recycled infinitely. We only receive the following glass products: glass bottles such as cold drink bottles,beverages and kitchen bottles.

The following is not recycled: Ceramics, Light Bulbs & Neon Lights, Pottery, Mirror Glass, Window Glass, Drinking Glasses and Car Windshields.

Metal
Any metal can be recycled and the metal is melted again and used in metal products. Aluminum and copper are very valuable and, therefore, large-scale theft of the products is experienced in South Africa.

Electronic Waste (E-waste)
Electronic waste is any product that works with electricity or batteries. The following products are obtained from e-waste: plastics, metals, silver, gold, copper and bronze. All the medals made for the 2020 Olympics in Japan are made from e-waste. Unfortunately, COVID 19 hampered the Games.

On the second Saturday of September 2020, (12th) larger e-waste products, such as refrigerators, stoves, etc. will be collected. Smaller e-waste products, smaller than televisions and microwave ovens, is collected on every recycling Saturday.

Households are requested to bring their recycling materials every second and last Saturday between 9am and 11am to the parking area next to the library.

Please flatten plastic bottles and cardboard boxes to save space.
For any further information, please contact Duart Hugo or e-mail him on: 082 789 4615, duarthugo99@gmail.com

Duart Hugo


Sewage and COVID-19 testing

As of last week, South Africa’s COVID-19 testing capacity only stands at 22,400 per million. Although this number is higher than countries such as Brazil, which has a larger number of infections, it is still grossly insufficient. As of writing this article, we have only tested 1,567,084 people of a greater than 59 million population.  Thus, testing is a huge obstacle in combatting this virus. Additionally, according to the WHO, “80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic.” This means that a large percentage of individuals who spread the virus never get formally diagnosed – a problematic statistic for South Africa’s testing strategy, which relies on “identifying infected persons, isolating them, tracing their contacts, and isolating or quarantining those contacts” (theconversation.com). This is where sewage comes in.

Sewage Epidemiology

It has been known since the beginning of the year that COIVD-19 can be detected in fecal matter, and can, subsequently, be tested for in wastewater. This type of research was spearheaded in February by Dutch water research institute, KWR, and has since been demonstrated as successful in other European countries such as Spain. In April, the SA Business Water Chamber entered into an agreement with KWR to conduct a Proof of Concept here in South Africa and on 8 June, a South African laboratory successfully extracted COVID-19 RNA from samples collected just 4 days earlier. A major role player in this success was Prof Anthony Turton from the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State.

Sewage Surveillance

The ability to test wastewater for COVID-19 allows scientists to track the spread of the virus and to identify asymptomatic hotspots without testing millions of individuals. Wastewater testing thus acts as an early-warning system for possible outbreaks. Accuracy in this regard is ensured by doing regular sampling at the head of the sewerage works – before reaching the sewerage plant where treatment is done. Through this, scientists can trace the virus back to neighbourhoods that feed into the same system.

Keep the mask on and put the toilet lid down

The COVID-19 virus is mostly spread by droplets hanging in the air after coughing or sneezing. However, smaller aerosolized droplets may continue to hang in the air after the larger ones have fallen. This is not only true for oral transmission, but for fecal transmission as well. A study published earlier this month showed that transmission can occur when flushing the toilet by means of the aerosolization of the virus in the water. Through simulations, scientists showed that a “massive upward transport of virus particles is observed, with 40%–60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, leading to large-scale virus spread” (Li, Wang and Chen: 2020).

Infrastructure maintenance

Failing municipal infrastructure maintenance and sewage overflow is a “slow onset disaster” according to Prof Turton. We, in Fichardt Park, know this all too well if you’ve ever been down Du Plooy Crescent, Van Rippen Crescent or Beddy Street. Therefore, preventative maintenance of our sewerage infrastructure is essential when it comes to a virus that can remain in stools for up to four days (not to mention all other diseases).

Therefore, to keep the neighbourhood and its residents healthy, Colin Povall from Drain Busters works on behalf of FNA members to conduct preventative maintenance in Fichardt Park every eight weeks.

On a final note, keep in mind, though, that transmission rates via toilet plume have not been well documented for COVID-19 specifically, only with other coronaviruses such as SARS. Moreover, regarding the virus in sewage overflow, Prof Turton states: “This does not mean that the virus is still infectious, although there is some mention of faecal-oral transmission in peer reviewed literature, at least of the SARS virus.” Nonetheless, sewage epidemiology and surveillance is an inexpensive means of mass COVID-19 testing that South Africa sorely needs.

Chanté van Biljon


Fichardt Park crime fight

We all need to live and work in a safe environment. In 2014, the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association launched our 100% Crime-Free Plan. This plan has grown so that we have service level agreements with 7 different security companies today. The cornerstone of this crime plan is Park Road police station’s Community Police Forum. This is where crime information is shared and patrols and roadblocks are planned.

It is precisely during these crime prevention patrols that it became clear that much can still be done to create our own crime-free environment. There are too many open gates and garages observed during these patrols. It is each resident’s responsibility to protect his property against crime. This includes movable property such as motor vehicles. Our residents can help by getting involved in our patrols.

Most crimes are committed throughout the day and are opportunistic crimes. Fichardt Park’s crime pattern clearly shows that where there is a lot of human movement there is a higher crime risk. Our malls, hospital and social venues are targeted by these opportunity criminals.

Patrols are the backbone of any good crime prevention plan. Our security team drives an average of 25,000 km of patrols per month. There has been a sharp decline in Fichardt Park’s crime rate since 2014. This is clear evidence that Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association is doing everything in its power to secure Fichardt Park. Our security team is working on our dream every day to make Fichardt Park a 100% crime-free neighbourhood.

High risk areas currently:

  • Outside Rosepark Hospital: Theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles and the illegal parking of motor vehicles.
  • Pick ‘n Pay Southern Centre: Bank Card Theft.
  • Home burglaries: Homes that do not have active alarm systems are targeted.

Do not become part of the crime statistics! Take preventive action by:

  • Park vehicles in visible and controlled areas to prevent criminals from having an opportunity to commit their crime.
  • Be mindful when loading or unloading valuable items in your car to people watching you.
  • Store valuables (such as handbags and laptops) in the boot instead of on seats or where they can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Keep items that stand around and have value (such as bicycles, garden tools, electronic and mechanical devices) out of sight.
  • Be careful when using the ATM, do not allow anyone to assist or even see what is happening on the ATM.
  • Get a security company to improve visibility and safety at your home.
  • Ensure that all security measures are in place before resting (security gates, garages and windows).
  • Place lighting around the home, activate alarms.

What influences emergency response time in an emergency?

  • Traffic Conditions
  • Road rules to obey
  • Weather conditions
  • Communication between the client, the control room and the reaction officer.

Malcolm Mostert


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