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CCID builds tower of trash in the middle of the Cape Town CBD in anti-litter activation

by Sharon Sorour-Morris 11 May 2023
CCID anti-litter campaign activation

Hundreds of bags of stinking trash were dumped in the Cape Town CBD today by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) as part of its newly launched anti-litter campaign to illustrate the devastating economic and environmental costs of littering.

More than 300 bags, collected in the Cape Town CBD, were off-loaded in the centre of town on Thibault Square at the bottom of Long St and then used to build a towering pyramid of trash.

The CCID collects over 110 000 kg of waste every month from the Cape Town city centre, which equates to 21 000 bags of litter and illegally dumped waste. 
Kally Benito, manager of Urban Management at the CCID, says the amount of waste is increasing year-on-year, which not only has devastating environmental consequences but also comes at a huge cost for City of Cape Town ratepayers.

CCID anti-litter campaign activation
CCID anti-litter campaign activation - hundreds of bags of waste dumped in town on Thibault Square.


Adding his voice to the campaign, City of Cape Town Ward 115 Councillor Ian McMahon says the constant illegal dumping and littering places an enormous strain on the City of Cape Town’s resources. 

Benito agrees, saying: “The CCID spends, on average, about R33 000 per day cleaning the streets and picking up illegally dumped waste in town. This includes waste swept up by our professional sweepers (contracted to the CCID via J&M Cleaning Services), waste collected by our litter-picking and storm water-drain cleaning teams (contracted to the CCID via our NGO partner, Straatwerk), as well as our social cleaning projects in collaboration with our NGO partner, Khulisa Streetscapes.”

The CCID removes 700 bags (about 3 500 kg) in a 24-hour cycle, of which 200 bags are collected at night. Over a month, more than 21 000 yellow bags are used to clean the streets of downtown Cape Town.

Benito says it is a huge waste of time and money, which could be allocated to other CCID projects, including those aimed at alleviating homelessness and uplifting street people, as well as other urban projects to beautify and improve infrastructure in the Cape Town Central City.
The CCID launched its anti-litter campaign last week, 3 May 2023, with an activation in St Georges Mall.

CCID Urban Management team with City of Cape Town Urban Waste team
CCID Urban Management team with City of Cape Town Urban Waste team.


The negative environmental impact of litter, of which a large amount ends up in the sea via the storm water drains, has a serious impact on the sustainability of ocean life and on future generations, says Cllr McMahon. “The CCID’s anti-litter campaign binds very nicely and creates heightened impact with the City’s strategy of behavioural change regarding littering amongst residents and visitors to the inner city.”

Benito echoes his concerns and says the organisation is also alarmed by the increase in illegal dumping by businesses in town. “This has a huge impact – not only on the environment but it has the potential to threaten public health, decrease property values and put people off from coming into town. That’s why we’re ramping up our efforts – in collaboration with the City’s litter campaign – to highlight the problem to ensure the CBD remains an attractive place for everyone to enjoy.”

The CCID’s 2023 campaign is focusing on curbing illegal dumping by educating business owners on how to develop and implement an effective 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.”

Over 1 226 tonnes of litter and illegally dumped waste is removed to landfill from the Cape Town CBD every year by the CCID’s Urban Management cleaning teams that work in town 24/7 in shifts to keep the CBD clean.

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 collected by CCID Urban Management from the streets in town 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.”

•    Members of the public can report illegal dumping to the CCID control room by calling of WhatsApping incidents, with images if possible, to 082 415 7127.

Issued by Sharon Sorour-Morris, Communications manager of the Cape Town CCID. 082 216 0835