Smelly drains bad for business

Tony Meyer, owner of a hair salon and barber, points to a drain that has been smelling for weeks.

Town Centre businesses are up in arms about dirty drains in Symphony Lane in Mitchell’s Plain CBD, saying that they are now affecting business.

According to business owners, they are confronted by horrible smells every day. In this lane there are six drains located in front of the shops.

Nazeem van der Berg, a security guard at Plaza Fisheries, said: “When the doors open in the morning a terrible smell hits the shop. The smell will stay in the shop the whole day. People sit and eat and have to endure the smell.

“It smells like old poo or even like rats. We have complained about the issue. The City comes around and throws powder on the drains, but does not clean it,” he said.

Tony Meyer, owner of a hair salon and barber in Symphony Lane, said the drains had been smelling for months.

“It is a terrible smell that comes into the shops. How are we supposed to work in these conditions? Then, how are the clients supposed to sit in the smell. It is obvious, if a place smells horrible then you are going to want to remove yourself,” he said.

Millicent Nomlala, who works at an electronic shop, said they were losing customers because of the smell. “Everyone that walks into the shop asks the same question: ‘what smells like that?’ Some people even think it is our shop and then walk out. These filthy drains are now affecting business,” she said.

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, said the City had investigated and found that the stormwater system within the Town Centre was frequently misused as a dumping site for waste items such as rubble, waste, drainage water and fish intestines, which contributed to the odour in the area.

“The City maintains the drains regularly, including cleaning the stormwater system. City staff also pour disinfectant into the system after cleaning,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the City staff maintained the drains frequently and the whole system had been thoroughly cleaned in February and March with a high-pressure jet machine.

“The stormwater system is designed to transport rain water and not to serve as a rubbish dump – the rubbish places a lot of strain on the system and makes it difficult for the City to keep it clean. The City is taking action in this regard, but we need business owners to work with us to address this issue,” he said.

“We would like to urge business owners and residents to help ensure that the system stays clean by not depositing any waste materials into the catch pits – these materials cause the blockages and bad smell.”

You can report any abuse of the channels to the City via the call centre on 0860 103 089.