Reducing Urban Litter in South Africa through Catchment Based Litter Management Plans
South Africa generates in excess of 40 million tonnes of solid waste every year - mostly of domestic origin. More than 780000 tonnes of this is washed into the drainage system where it ends up entangled amongst the vegetation and sediments along the banks of the streams, rivers and lakes or strewn on the beaches. To remove all the litter from the watercourses without seeking to reduce the quantities involved would cost South Africa at least US$400 million per annum - or approximately 0.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP). This is clearly not feasible and therefore the Water Research Commission of South Africa and the Cape Metropolitan Council are funding a four year investigation into the reduction of urban litter in the drainage systems through the development of catchment specific litter management plans.
Eight stormwater drainage catchments, representing a diversity of land-uses, have been selected for a detailed litter audit. This audit will quantify the amount and type of litter being deposited in the drainage catchments both before and after the implementation of various litter management strategies. The results of the litter audits will measure the effectiveness of the various litter management strategies, which in turn will facilitate the continuous improvement of the litter management plans. It is envisaged that the study will promote the development and implementation of litter management plans for all urban catchments ensuring that litter management is aligned with broader catchment management plans.
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