Problems Encountered with the Measurement of Urban Litter entering the Stormwater Systems of Cape Town
There is a paucity of data on the nature and quantity of urban litter (alternatively called trash or rubbish) that finds its way into the stormwater drainage systems (Armitage et al, 1998; Armitage & Rooseboom, 2000). This chapter relates how a data collection process was instituted in nine small (34-144 ha) catchments in the City of Cape Town under the Water Research Commission Project No. K5/1051 entitled the reduction of urban litter in drainage systems through integrated catchment management. In keeping with the aim of improving the knowledge of the source, type and amount of urban litter coming from different types of urban catchments, these catchments covered a range of different land uses, socio-economic levels and densities.
The study catchments, the simple devices used to trap the litter, the steps taken to implement the process, including the installation of the trapping devices, and the monitoring procedure are described. The constraints experienced, both in setting up the catchments to enable the collection of the data, and in recording the data are discussed. It is hoped that the lessons learned will prove useful to researchers tackling similar investigations.
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