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Anti-litter campaign urges public not to "trash" the Cape Town CBD

by Sharon Sorour-Morris 2 May 2023
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Over 1 226 tonnes of litter and illegally dumped waste is removed to landfill from the Cape Town CBD every year by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID). It’s equivalent to over 100 000 kg every month, which is the amount of dung produced by 40 African elephants. The stench is almost as bad.

To highlight the problem, the CCID is today launching its 2023 anti-litter campaign in the city centre to urge the public and business owners not to “trash our town” and “dump on our doorstep”.

Says Kally Benito, manager of the CCID’s Urban Development department: “We are concerned about the amount of litter and the increase in illegal dumping by businesses in town. This has a huge impact not only on the environment but can threaten public health and decrease property values. That’s why we’re ramping up our efforts to highlight the problem to ensure the CBD remains an attractive place for everyone to enjoy.”

Benito says that at the start of the pandemic in 2020 – which resulted in consecutive lockdowns – the amount of litter collected in that year decreased to 582 tonnes. Now that the CBD is fully operational, the amount of litter has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

“The amount of litter jumped from 709 tonnes in 2019 to 1 226 tonnes in 2022 – an increase of over 70 %. We must work together to turn this around. Our hard-hitting campaign aims to educate people to dispose of waste responsibly.”

Benito says the CCID is intent to keep the CBD “crime- and grime-free”. “Together with our partners at the City of Cape Town, our aim is to retain our reputation as the most successful – and the cleanest – city centre in South Africa so that we can continue to attract business and property investment in the region and lure local and international visitors.”


The CCID’s 2023 campaign will focus on curbing the problem of illegal dumping by educating business owners on how to develop and implement a waste management plan.

Says Benito: “Business owners need to ensure they have sufficient black bins for the amount of waste their business generates. We find that illegal dumping happens mostly at night in the CBD because businesses do not have enough black bins.

“We urge members of the public to report illegal dumping to the CCID control room by calling 082 415 7127.”

As part of the campaign, CCID Urban Management will be handing out flyers to business owners in town with information on how they can work with the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste department to manage their waste effectively. 

Despite the challenges posed by illegal dumping, graffiti tagging, cigarette-butt litter, and waste spilling out of torn litter bags, downtown Cape Town remains one of the country's most well-kept CBDs, thanks to the organisation’s efforts. 

CCID Urban Management works 24/7 to keep the CBD clean. There are 37 professional daytime cleaners employed via J&M Cleaning Services who work from 7h30 to 16h30 and 16 night-time cleaners who work from19h30 to 4h30. They are assisted by litter-picking teams employed via NGO Straatwerk who are deployed Monday to Saturday between 8h00 and 17h00.

Apart from picking up illegally dumped bags and litter, the CCID also has 310 branded cigarette-butt litter bins throughout the CBD.

“Cigarette-butt litter is also a huge problem in town … in 2020 we collected over 680 kg of cigarette-butt waste from these bins.”

However, in spite of the challenges Benito says the department is confident that, with the City of Cape Town, it will continue to ensure the CBD is a clean, sustainable, and welcoming downtown environment for locals, visitors, and investors alike.

Click here for campaign images.


by Sharon Sorour-Morris