CCID shows how to #KeepItClean

2016-05-24 06:00

It’s not often that an organisation can claim to use theft as a yardstick to measure a campaign’s success, but that’s precisely what the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) did with its recently concluded annual #KeepItClean campaign.

This year’s drive to raise public awareness about keeping the CBD’s streets clean and highlight the services that the CCID provides on a daily basis, was admittedly a little different, though.

Instead of standard appeals not to litter, drop cigarette butts or dump rubbish illegally, the campaign included disruptive street theatre and the roll-out of a cheeky poster campaign throughout the CBD, targeting problem areas.

For the defacing of public property, the message was: “Think you’re an artist? Fine. Tagging and illegal posters could get you a R5000 fine. Don’t deface your space!”.

Littering messaging inquired: “Are you a tosser? Fine. Littering could get you a R5000 fine. Don’t litter!”

However, it was with one of the CBD’s biggest problems that the campaign seemed to have the most success. Mobilising an early-morning cleaning team from its NGO partner Straatwerk, various notorious illegal dumping sites which the CCID considers “hot spots” were targeted. A large notification of the infringement was put up for all to see, accompanied by a huge red arrow pointing at the dumping.

According to CCID chief operating officer Tasso Evangelinos, the first measure of success was to see the public placing pictures of the posters on social media.

“From Twitter to Facebook, suddenly messaging started to appear from members of the public congratulating us on this initiative.”

Clearly though, the messaging didn’t sit well with the culprits themselves, says Evangelinos. Between the first and second day of the campaign, four posters were stolen and refuse was again dumped illegally at those sites.

“The next day we simply put up the posters again. By day three the posters were still up and nothing further had been dumped.”

Tons of refuse is illegally dumped on the CBD’s streets every year. Both unsightly and a health hazard, it is very costly to remove, taking up resources and manhours that could have been better utilised on more constructive projects.

“Before the campaign began, we identified a couple of dozen dumping hot spots across the CBD and even where the posters were not stolen, we have noted a decrease in illegal dumping. We hope the transgressors have taken the message to heart, and that they are now more aware of how problematic illegal dumping is. We also hope the public at large and responsible tenants will help us keep the streets clean by reporting illegal dumping to the CCID’s 24-hour control centre on 082 415 7127.”

Richard Beesley, manager of the CCID’s urban management department, explains that the CCID and its service providers deliver top-up cleaning and urban maintenance to those provided by the primary service, the City of Cape Town. To accomplish this, the CCID keeps the “areas between the buildings” free of litter, and also undertakes (among other tasks) the removal of graffiti, minor road and pavement repairs, gardening and other beautification projects.

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