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It’s time to come clean in the Central City

It’s time to come clean in the Central City

It’s time to come clean in the Central City. This is the new message behind the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) annual #KeepItClean campaign, run by its Urban Management department.

Urban Management is one of the four operational divisions of the CCID (the other three being Safety & Security, Social Development and Communications) that delivers top up services to those of its primary partner, namely the City of Cape Town. It is estimated that, in addition to the mass waste removal undertaken by the City’s own teams in the Central City (ie: through the emptying of municipal bins), the CCID and its contracted teams supplement this by sweeping up around 1 020 additional tonnes of waste dumped annually directly on the streets, either through illegal dumping or common littering.

The 2018 “It’s time to come clean” campaign is therefore aimed specifically at highlighting the work of the CCID as well as the contracted teams it works with, while at the same time calling on members of the public to do their part to ensure the Central City remains the cleanest CBD in South Africa.

The campaign’s message will target three main problem areas, namely, illegal dumping, littering and graffiti tagging.

According to Richard Beesley, manager of CCID Urban Management: “Above all else, the annual campaign is absolutely essential in creating public awareness as a great deal of litter continues to be dumped on the CBD’s streets every year. During last year’s campaign, we calculated that just one day’s worth of litter dumped illegally onto our streets in the CBD amounted to 2 100 kilograms and costs R26 000 to remove! And of course, within that time, these figures have increased. If more people ‘came clean’ and were litter conscious, imagine how this money and the resources used to clean the mess could be utilised towards other pressing urban management challenges in the CBD for the benefit of everyone who falls within the CCID footprint.”

To drive home the message that everyone should take responsibility for the correct disposing of their own litter  ̶  and let go of the view that someone else will be there to clean up after them  ̶  the 2018 #KeepItClean campaign will be showing the public just how much effort it takes to keep the CBD clean.

Explains Beesley: “For example, we have 270 CCID-branded concrete cigarette butt bins that are placed strategically around the CBD, and we intend to visually demonstrate what just one month’s worth of collecting those butts looks like.  We’re doing this because of the enormous volumes of cigarette butts that still end up on the ground through illegal dumping – far more than what our cleaners collect from our bins.

“We want people to imagine just how many more butts end up on pavements, in the streets and even being washed out to sea via our stormwater systems. And that’s just the cigarette butts. Never mind all the other illegal dumping of trash that takes place in the CBD every day – from the flicking of a soda can onto the ground to entire bags full of rubbish placed illegally on the streets instead of inside a municipal bin.”

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID, adds his concern: “While it’s challenging and expensive to clean areas littered with cigarette butts, and well documented that improperly disposing cigarette butts cause great harm to the environment as they are very slow to degrade, most people  ̶  including our own members of the public in the Central City  ̶   haven’t taken this to heart and we’re challenging them to change their behaviour with the ‘It’s time to come clean’ message.

“We’ve worked out that one month’s worth of cigarette butts collected from our bins is equivalent to 240kgs or four municipal bins and this amounts on its own to approximately three tonnes per annum. If our Urban Management team was able to collect so many cigarette butts in just one month, within only the areas in which we are able to place our own ciggie bins, can members of the public imagine the number of cigarette butts being illegally dumped every day?”

Another activation during this year’s campaign comes from the 2017 campaign, during which the CCID rolled out a highly popular (and very amusing) interactive “ciggie butt voting bin” that invited smokers to engage by voting with their butts on the answers to a variety of questions.

“The ciggie butt voting bin gave smokers, particularly the high volumes in the CBD that often congregate on pavements outside of our many call centres, a reason to dispose of their butts in a responsible way, and gave them a laugh at the same time,” says Evangelinos, “but above all else it taught us that behavioural change can sometimes be best effected in an amusing and engaging manner.

“We look forward to rolling it out again this year, and in the longterm we will continue to investigate how this concept could be rolled out on a larger scale.”

So, with this in-your-face approach of displaying cigarette butts and the CCID’s “It’s time to come clean” messaging displayed on posters across the CBD during the two-month campaign, the organisation wants to bring to the public’s attention the issue of littering in a tangible manner and hopefully make people stop, think and modify their actions for good.

“But our declaration of war on litter is not only about cigarette butts,” says Evangelinos, “but other illegally dumped rubbish and the negative impacts these have, such as rodent infestations. For which we have had to develop another time-consuming and costly system: working hand-in-hand with our partners at the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Health unit, twice a year we fill 900 bait boxes in the CBD.”

The CCID Urban Management department, together with its partners, works tirelessly to provide a clean, attractive and risk-reduced urban environment in the Cape Town Central City for all to enjoy. The services the department delivers are top-ups to those of the CBD’s primary service provider, the City of Cape Town, and include: the removal of graffiti, minor road and pavement repairs, gardening and other beautification projects. These services are performed by 60 professionally skilled street sweepers from the CCID’s cleaning contractor, J&M Cleaning Services, and a strong 300-strong semi-skilled cleaning and maintenance team from the organisation’s NGO partner Straatwerk.

Says Beesley: “I’ve been with the CCID for 12 years, and every day I am in awe of the teams who help us deliver these services with distinction, and I always wonder what the Central City would look like if the CCID and its partners weren’t there to offer these extra services.

“Although the work of our teams work is commendable, ultimately, we want behavioural change among members of the public to be permanent and we would love to get to a point where campaigns like these aren’t needed, and we can divert the money and resources spent to other areas that would benefit the public more effectively. Everyone should have a sense of decency and civic pride when it comes to the spaces they occupy in an area like the Central City – or anywhere else – and we really need to drive the message home that the responsibility of a clean CBD starts with the people who use it daily.”

For more information, or pictures relevant to the campaign or the work of the CCID Urban Management Department contact:

Carola Koblitz
Communications Manager
Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID)
Email: carola@capetownccid.org
Landline: +27 21 286 0830