More than a ton of butts per km of pavements

2017-06-06 06:00

How much rubbish collects in the CBD over a day?

Now Capetonians can see for themselves as stompies and street refuse will be displayed as part of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) autumn clean-up campaign.

The display is aimed to show that mess costs a lot of money, says Richard Beesley, manager of the CCID’s urban management department.

Between November last year and the end of January, his department’s precinct managers coordinated the cleaning of 8074 drains, the removal of 807 pieces of graffiti and 370kg cigarette butts tossed on pavements across the 1.62km² area.

The cleaning teams removed 1.7 tonnes of stompies last year. These top-up services are executed by the CCID via professional cleaning company J&M and the Straatwerk NGO.

A display was installed on Bree Street and in St Georges Mall showing what 2.1 tonnes of street refuse (the amount the CCID collects every day at a cost of R26 000) looks like: 700 full refuse bags.

In a pilot project the CCID has tested a new-style cigarette bin on St Georges Mall and in Adderley Street. Inspired by UK-based charity Hubbub’s bin rolled out in cities there, this “voters’ box” turned an outdoor smoke break into the same experience the office water cooler offers – a chance to debate the issues of the day.

The display area contained a topical or fun question, changed on a regular basis, and asked smokers to vote with their butts. The idea was to encourage them to discard their stompies in a designated bin rather than on the sidewalk or in the gutter. Judging by the crowds the bin drew and the number of butts it held at the end of each day, the test was a success.

Questions included “Belieber or non-Belieber?” to coincide with the Justin Bieber concert (smokers were equally divided on this) and “Is it okay to have an office romance?” (clearly, smokers thought it was).

Says Beesley: “We’ll be taking the lessons learnt from this experiment to see how we can move forward. Clearly, behavioural change can be affectively achieved if you engage directly with the public in a fun or highly interactive way.”

Along with new trolleys bought earlier this year to make the work of the CCID’s road maintenance and graffiti teams easier, other CCID initiatives included street pole posters (with targeted humorous messages for Capetonians) and the distribution of over 30 000 CCID-branded pocket ashtrays. These pouches have a flame-retardant lining, allowing a smoker to stub out a stompie responsibly when there isn’t a bin nearby and dispose of it later.

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