Harbour has a gnawing problem

Locals on the Hout Bay Harbour have raised concerns about the number of rats running around, but the City of Cape Town has a plan up their sleeve to tackle the problem.

The dumping of flecking waste and illegal fish processing has led to a rat infestation at the Hout Bay Harbour.

Over the past few weeks, what appears to be an increase in the number of rats has caused concern among locals and businesses using the harbour.

Business owner, Lucille Apollis, said the increase in rats could deter people from wanting to visit the harbour – and their businesses.

“It’s understood that you might see a rat or two, but when you see a bunch of rats breeding on top of each other, then you know you have a problem on your hands,” she said.

Ms Apollis, who runs a clothing business, said rats can even be seen around the busy market areas, where there is heavy foot traffic.

“I have seen people dodging rats and rats running in between people. I know it’s not usual to hear about rats on a harbour – but it is unusual to see so many of them at once and something must be done,” she said.

Fisherman and Hout Bay local, Alfred Thompson, said they have noticed the increase in rats, but pointed fingers to the tourist and visitors to the harbour, who leave food waste in the open.

“They have always been processing fish and working with fish on the harbour for years, so what are the fisherman doing differently now? There are plenty of rats running around here and it’s not fair to just say that we are dumping and that is attracting the rats,” he said.

“The tourist and visitors must also be blamed, because after a busy day here on the harbour, you must see the mess that is left behind and that is is also contributing towards the problem.”

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town confirmed that the matter had been brought to their attention and that they had started to action plans to bait rats in both Hangberg and IY.

They have also “active educational drives” under way in IY and are currently planning for Hangberg, according to ward councillor Roberto Quintas.

“Our officials educate residents around basic hygiene, as well as the effects of dumping,” he said.

“The ongoing behaviour regarding dumping, and illegal fish processing and dumping of flecking waste into sewer and storm drains is a major contributor to the increase of rats and other pests,” Mr Quintas said.

He confirmed that the City continued to clear blockages, and clear dumping and bait rats, but Mr Quintas added: “Until residents take ownership of how they dispose of waste, especially food waste, the problem will be an ongoing and ever present one.”

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