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There are better ways to spend R30 000 a day in the Cape Town CBD than on rubbish

There are better ways to spend R30 000 a day in the Cape Town CBD than on rubbish

10 April 2019

There are better ways to spend R30 000 a day in the Cape Town CBD than on rubbish

It’s time to come clean in the Central City and wise up on waste. The mounting cost of keeping downtown Cape Town clean, and why we need to become responsible about rubbish or pay the price, is the message of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) annual #KeepItClean campaign.

The “It’s time to come clean” campaign aims to raise public awareness about the importance, and ever-increasing cost, of keeping the Central City clean. Spearheaded by the CCID’s Urban Management department, the thought-provoking 2019 campaign rolls out this week with activations in the CBD and runs until the end of May.

At the heart of the campaign is not only the huge amount of illegal waste and litter collected by the CCID from the streets of Cape Town every single day, but the huge cost involved.

Says CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos: “The CCID sweeps and picks up, on average, 2 400 kg of litter from the streets in town seven days a week at a cost of R30 000 per day, which amounts to nearly R11-million per year. What a waste!” He says this is in addition to the mass waste removal (through the emptying of black wheelie and green street-pole municipal bins) done by the CCID’s primary partner, the City of Cape Town.

“We collect bags dumped illegally, litter spilling out of black wheelie bins and general rubbish in the streets and have to contend with things like fluorescent bulbs and tubes, dirty Styrofoam containers, big boxes and cardboard.”

Evangelinos warns that if Capetonians continue to litter at the pace they’re doing now, the city will run out of landfill space with all ratepayers and businesses “paying the price in increased rates and taxes”.

With the 2019 campaign, the CCID is therefore once again targeting illegal dumping, general littering and refuse, and cigarette-butt waste.

Richard Beesley, manager of CCID Urban Management, says the campaign plays a crucial role in raising public awareness about keeping downtown Cape Town clean. This year’s campaign reiterates the “It’s time to come clean” message that the CCID has been promoting for the last two years. “We are once again repeating it and will do so until people get the message loud and clear,” says Beesley. “The responsibility for a clean CBD starts with the people who use it every day and they need to dispose of their litter appropriately.”

Beesley says the main challenges remain littering and illegal dumping. Evangelinos adds that there is a pressing need for business owners in the CBD to develop and implement their own waste removal plans, contracted either to the City of Cape Town or a private contractor.

Says Evangelinos: “Certain businesses, especially in the food sector, generate more waste than can be collected once a day but they don’t want to increase the frequency of their rubbish collection as it will cost more money. They then dump their excess waste somewhere else or let their bins overflow, which creates more problems such as an increase in rodents leading to health-related issues.”

He says businesses and residents need to confront the challenge of dealing with their waste or the consequences will be costly.  “There is a huge need to create awareness around reducing waste through recycling and reusing certain items, and cutting back on others, especially fast-food containers that cannot be recycled,” he says. “We cannot continue to generate the amount of waste we are currently generating as our landfills are reaching capacity. Where will the waste go once these are full? We will have to create alternative landfill space far from the city and the price of removing waste to landfill will go up exorbitantly,” he warns.

Beesley says cigarette-butt waste also remains a big problem in the Central City in spite of the CCID providing 270 branded concrete cigarette-butt bins placed strategically around the CBD. “Even so, an enormous volume of cigarette butts still end up on the ground through illegal dumping – far more than the 300 kg our cleaners collect from our bins every month,” says Beesley. If they are not disposed of correctly, they risk being washed out to sea via the CBD stormwater system, causing environmental damage.

In an effort to get smokers to take action and dispose of their butts responsibly, one of the campaign’s activations will once again be the highly popular (and amusing) interactive “ciggie-butt voting bin” that invites smokers to engage by voting with their butts to a variety of questions posed by a screen on the bin. Over 35 000 reusable ciggie pouches, which allow smokers to “stash their stompies” instead of dropping them on the ground, will also be handed out to the public.

While the campaign highlights illegal littering in the CBD - through colourful, in-your-face posters with slogans including Eish! My Bra. Stop littering neh and strategic activations involving branded wheelie bins - it also draws attention to the excellent work done by the CCID’s Urban Management department in delivering top-up services to those of its primary partner, the City of Cape Town. Apart from sweeping and litter-removal, Urban Management also does minor road and pavement repairs, graffiti removal, gardening and other beautification projects.

Beesley says while the work of the CCID’s teams is commendable, the aim of the #KeepItClean campaign is to bring about behavioural change. “We would like people to ‘come clean’ and become litter-conscious so we can get to a point where campaigns like this aren’t needed anymore,” he says.


For more information contact:

Sharon Sorour-Morris
Communications Manager: Cape Town Central City Improvement District
Contact numbers : 021-286-045 or 082-216-0835