Cape Town - The scourge of littering and illegal dumping in Cape Town was once again the topic of conversation after the City’s Solid Waste by-law enforcement unit announced that, in just six months, it issued fines amounting to R1.3 million for cases of littering and illegal dumping.
The problem of illegal dumping was proving to be increasingly prevalent, with 1 405 fines issued this year by the City, which ranged from R500 to R5 000 each.
Urban waste management mayoral committee member Grant Twigg hoped the unit, which focused on littering, dumping, and ensuring businesses had waste management plans in place, could work more closely with residents to catch culprits.
“Applying penalties for littering and dumping relies on evidence, which can be tricky unless you catch the offence in progress. The City cannot have eyes on every street corner, but if residents can help us by recording evidence (pictures/videos), we can ensure that the guilty parties face consequences,” he said.
Twigg said illegal dumping was a City-wide problem, but areas that were specifically affected included, among others, Phillippi, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Kuils River and Athlone.
Community activist Ursula Schenker said illegal dumping was a disease ingrained in the mindset of some Capetonians, and unless the City’s allocated budget of R300 million was utilised at a grassroots level to educate regularly, the money spent would become another albatross around the necks of already burdened ratepayers.
Residents believed that to properly address the issue of littering and illegal dumping, more thorough education was needed to inform communities of the impacts of dumping on their health and the environment.
A Grassy Park resident from Klip Road, Shane Schwartz, said rubbish was blown in from the cemetery and beyond.
“Not a day goes by when I do not have to remove cellophane wrapping paper for flowers from my property, especially my dog’s water bowl. Education definitely is the key to this problem,” he said.
Twigg said awareness and education were a part of the solution, but would not work on their own.
“The majority of those dumping illegally are aware it is illegal and that it degrades our communities, but they are not willing to make the effort to manage waste safely. This is where punitive action becomes important,” he said.