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Spring is in the air, when thoughts often turn to cleaning. With this in mind, Pikitup is holding a Clean-up Day, and is asking Joburgers to help.

The Clean City campaign aims to rid the city of illegal dumping hotspots
The Clean City campaign aims to rid the city of illegal dumping hotspots

RESIDENTS have been urged to volunteer their time and help clean up public spaces on Pikitup's Clean-up Day on Saturday, 17 September.

Clean-up Day is part of the annual Clean City Campaign, which was initiated two years ago, and this year also falls under the mayor's 90-day Accelerated Service Delivery campaign, in which all City departments and entities are running special service delivery projects.

This year, the day also coincides with Clean-up Week on the international environmental calendar.

On the day, Pikitup will set up 33 collection points citywide. Refuse bags and gloves will be given to people, who are invited to join Pikitup at the various collection points. They will help clean identified areas, or they can register spots they have identified for cleaning, on the Pikitup website.

Clean-up Day and the Clean City Campaign is being run in partnership with City Parks and the Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD).

Speaking at the launch of Clean-up Day, on Tuesday, 30 August, the member of the mayoral committee for infrastructure services and environment, Roslynn Greeff, said keeping Joburg clean would make it more liveable.

"If we imagine a clean city, we might imagine an aesthetically attractive environment with well-maintained buildings and beautiful parks. We might also imagine a city that is litter-free, where the water is clean, the air fresh, the transport system effective, the laws and by-laws enforced and the community responsible.

Clean the city to make it liveable, says MMC Ros Greeff
Clean the city to make it liveable, says MMC Ros Greeff

"The benefits of such a city include healthy citizens and a productive economy, flourishing business hubs and ultimately a city that is highly attractive to investors and tourists," she said.

She described a clean city as being litter-free, where waste removal services were effective, bins were not overflowing and wasted was not dumped illegally.

"In addition to an effective infrastructure, realising a clean city vision requires community involvement and law abiding citizens with a deep love for their city and its wellbeing. Importantly, one of Pikitup's key deliverables for Johannesburg's Integrated Development Plan is to ensure the cleanliness of the City through education, awareness and by-law enforcement."

Pikitup's acting managing director, Lawrence Boya, said the utility hoped to reach as many people as possible. "We have employed highly intensified public relations, including multimedia, newspapers, internet, radio, TV, bus and taxi branding."

Boya said Pikitup staff would also be hands on in participating in Clean-up Day.

Also giving points, Roelf de Beer, from Pikitup's environmental programmes unit, added: "We are targeting approximately 3,8 million people."

Shanyela Amabala
Through an ongoing community programme, Shanyela Amabala, Pikitup encourages people to keep their living spaces clean. This includes cleaning pavements and roads. Shanyela Amabala, a Zulu phrase, loosely translates as "sweeping own yards". It encourages clean neighbourhoods by educating the community about waste sorting and recycling, and the benefits of living in a clean environment.

Roelf de Beer shows litter bugs the red card
Roelf de Beer shows litter bugs the red card

In another endeavour to sustain the City's clean-up programme, Red Card, a campaign against illegal dumping, will be launched just days after Clean-up Day.

Running under the theme, "Pitch in and we'll Pikitup", Red Card encourages residents to sort their refuse in plastic bags provided by the utility; to adhere to refuse collection schedules; and to refrain from dumping refuse illegally.

Taxi ranks and areas of high pedestrian traffic will be targeted. "This is a massive problem in the city and manifests itself in the form of littering by residents, excessive numbers of refuse bags regularly being placed in the road reserve by residents and businesses, and heaps of waste being dumped on street corners and in open spaces," said Greeff.

Approximately 81 300 tons of litter is collected and disposed of by Pikitup annually. It is further estimated that 198 000 tons of general waste is dumped illegally every year in road reserves and open spaces.

De Beer said the JMPD worked to ensure that those who dumped waste illegally, faced the full might of the law. "Over 200 fines have already been issued."

He blamed a lack of education as the cause of littering and illegal dumping. "Educating people will play an important role in changing the habits and misperception that people [have] formulated."

Red Card
On the day of the Red Card launch, 70 000 red cards will be distributed; written on the cards will be the Crime Line telephone numbers, on which people can report illegal dumping. More than 250 dustbins will also be distributed.

In 2010, the clean-up campaign was held successfully, with celebrities also joining in to help clean Joburg before the football World Cup. In total, 35 000 people participated and 63 000 bags of rubbish were filled.

Register to participate in the Clean-up Day campaign on the Pikitup website.