PERHAPS half of the vehicles in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) are serviced by their owners, whether they live in Westering, Malabar, New Brighton or Despatch.
The procedure is as follows: borrow the wife's large roasting pan. Place under car. Drain old sludged oil into the pan and refill engine with new oil. Job almost done.
Two issues remain.
Like thousands of other local DIY fellows, you will find that you are sitting with five litres of filthy gunk in the roasting pan. But where to go with it?
I shall tell you. The bulk of it goes straight into, er, the municipal drain, which of course is highly illegal. Please don't tell the NMBM that I said so, because it will pretend to be extremely upset.
I personally store the stuff until I have a boot full and then unload it at some reluctant service station. But what is the official position, and why does the public not know what to do with old oil?
I have attempted to enquire. The NMBM's environmental services never answered the phone. One of the firms that collects old oil for recycling answered the phone promptly, but their national customer service office had no idea, and promised to phone me back. They never did.
I understand that there is some haphazard agreement whereby service stations that are prepared to accept old oil from motorists will fly a green flag. I have not seen one of those flags for at least 120 years.
Here is a suggestion. How about we motorists buy our fuel in future only from a service station that flies the official green flag?. I promise you, green flags will go up fast.
Finally, I said two issues remained. The first was disposing of the old oil. The second is to get that roasting pan back into the kitchen without the wife discovering what the blazes you did with it. This is the tricky, and dangerous, bit.
Well, until the authorities respond, down the NMBM drain it continues to go. (Ssssshhhh!)
Leon Marshall, Westering, PE.