Cape Town - The continued defacing of rocks, trees, fences and buildings along hiking trails on Table Mountain have spurred a group into action to preserve the natural beauty of the national park.
The Graffiti Clean-up Rapid Response Group, put together by Friends of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, said they now needed volunteers to join them, and help curb incidents of graffiti.
Committee member Kosta Papageorgiou, who has scaled Lion’s Head more than 500 times, said each time he climbed along Table Mountain, he would notice new graffiti.
He said the response group’s purpose was to create a communication channel for people living nearby Lion’s Head and Signal Hill who are passionate about keeping the trails and mountains clean and as natural as possible.
“Acts of graffiti are happening across Table Mountain, everyone is writing their names.
“Everyone feels the need to write their name, or the country they are from, or make a statement.
“People that are part of this (response) group are willing to commit either their time to cleaning up graffiti as soon as spotted on the trails or mountains, or they are happy to donate funds for the materials to clean up the graffiti.
“This is one of Friends of Lion’s Head’s many objectives that include collaborating with authorities on safety practices, organising alien vegetation clearing events, and also creating educational hiking events for the community to get involved in and empower themselves.”
Founder of Love our Trails, Blake Dyason, who also works to ensure the sustainability of the mountain, welcomed the initiative, and encouraged hiking and trail-running leaders to educate their members and the public about the impacts of graffiti and littering.
He said when an area on the mountain was free from graffiti, then people did not bother to participate in markings.
But as soon as one marking was made, others would add to it.
“Hosting initiatives like what Kosta is doing shows that change is happening, and people are becoming more aware of the impacts of their actions,” said Dyason.
SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton said an environmentally friendly graffiti remover, brushes, and water were used to remove graffiti from rocks.
She said the defacing of the mountain was an issue that their rangers were aware of.
“Graffiti in a national park is not only illegal, but also affects the experience of other visitors and park users who want to enjoy the natural heritage as well as special cultural heritage places in the park.
“You will be fined up to R2 500 as per the National Environmental Management: Protected Area Acts regulations. Repeat offences may result in arrest,” said Clayton.
To volunteer as part of the response group, visit Friends of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill on Facebook, or visit Love our Trails, also on Facebook.