Although inroads have been made in curbing illegal dumping since the launch of mayor Dan Plato’s Keep Cape Town Clean campaign in March last year, the war is far from over.
On Thursday 6 February, Plato restarted his campaign in Fisantekraal to educate communities about the importance of keeping neighbourhoods clean.
He said while he was glad about organisations and residents who carried out clean-ups in communities, he had noticed that some sites had returned to a filthy state.
“I encourage residents to not litter and also urge members of the public to report illegal dumping when they see it. Our solid waste staff work hard to keep areas clean, but we also need your support,” Plato said.
The department of solid waste spends R340 million per annum removing illegal dumping throughout the city.
Since July last year, the Wynberg Improvement District (WID) – in partnership with the City of Cape Town and its solid waste law enforcement department – has conducted two awareness campaigns in the Wynberg CBD.
“Several businesses have been issued with compliance notices. Although matters are improving, dumping remains a problem that we continue to address,” says Gene Lohrentz, CEO of Geocentric – the management company of WID. In the past seven months, WID has recorded 124 incidents of illegal dumping.
In Lohrentz’s experience, offenders seem to target cul-de-sac, alleyways and areas close to and on the railway corridor. Public and private open land also end up being impromptu dumping sites.
He says the extent of the refuse dumped ranges from just a few cardboard boxes and bags of household garbage to much larger quantities.
“Dumping is, in principle, the same as illegal graffiti ‘tagging’ – if you leave it there for longer than 12 to 24 hours it sends a signal that it is ‘okay’ to dump more rubbish there. Our motto is to remove all illegal dumping as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming an ‘invitation’ to others to dump litter at the same spot,” he says.
As a result, he says, waste is dumped on the street – usually late at night or early in the morning – with the expectation that it will be collected.
As an additional top-up to the services provided by the City, WID cleaning staff members clean the streets and sidewalks. They also empty overflowing green street litter bins. The filled bags (WID uses yellow bags) are stacked at strategic locations for pick-up.
“We have found that these locations become an invitation for others to ‘add’ their litter to the heap or for bin-scratchers to tear open the bags,” Lohrentz says.
To prevent this, WID now collects all these bags off the streets, three times per day. The solid waste department then collects the bags from WID.
All business and property owners are urged to make sure they have a proper waste management plan in place and that they responsibly dispose of their waste.
“This includes waste minimisation through recycling, having enough wheelie bins for the amount of waste you generate and if your bins are broken or have gone missing, you can report this to the City and secure new or additional bins,” he says.
Liz Brunette, councillor for ward 62, says refuse dumped illegally degrades residential areas. She says she receives about two to three complaints via email per month. However, she says it is best if residents log a service request directly.
“I encourage residents to log service requests for almost everything,” says Brunette.
Faults and service requests can be reported using the following options:
- The City’s service requests website www.eservices1.capetown.gov.za
- Email contactUS@capetown.gov.za;
- SMS 31373 (no more than 160 characters); or The City’s general call centre on 086 010 3089.
According to a statement released by the City, vehicles used in illegal dumping can be confiscated and a release fee of nearly R16 000 will be charged, over-and-above the fines issued for dumping.
Residents who have a culprit’s vehicle registration number or can identify him or her, can call 021 400 6157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lohrentz claims businesses that do not follow the by-laws and policies of the City in terms of waste management are among the main offenders.
According to the City’s by-laws, every business and property must have a waste management process – more so businesses that must either make use of the City-provided services and have a private service provider to perform waste removal from their premises.
“We find many businesses – large and small – either have no or inadequate waste management facilities, including the number of wheelie bins or waste containers that can adequately serve their needs.”