Call for bigger budget to help change behaviour

Portland and Rocklands ward councillor Danny Christians and Patriotic Alliance PR councillor Marvin Sampson at Sub-council 17.

A Mitchell’s Plain sub-council will be lobbying for a bigger budget than the allotted R3 million for the City of Cape Town’s Urban Waste Management team tasked with changing residents’ behaviour when it comes to dumping and keeping their open spaces clean.

The City’s draft budget for this financial year has set aside R3.3 million for its Urban Waste Management’s public awareness programmes, communication and education. This 6.21% of the council’s total operating budget was a discussion point at Sub-council 17’s activity programme on Friday April 22.

Portland and Rocklands ward councillor Danny Christians, an environmental and coastal development activist, pointed out that the City had a huge waste problem yet had set aside a small budget.

“We need to give more money to this. Perhaps we can activate some MURP (Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme) to be rolled to this programme, which is only used for operational issues,” he said.

Mr Christians said that the fencing of Wolfgat Nature Reserve at a cost of R1 million this year and R2 million each for the following two years (“Budget talk”, Plainsman, April 20) was a waste of money. In his experience as councillor, he said, fencing just gets stolen.

He said while the City’s 2022/23 financial year draft budget was open for public perusal, submissions could be made to unlock some funds.

Residents are encouraged to submit their comments by Tuesday May 3.

In response to his colleague, Patriotic Alliance PR councillor Marvin Sampson’s call for signage to deter dumping in public open spaces, Mr Christians said: “this is wasteful expenditure” as this too was vandalised and not adhered to.

“The money is best used for the betterment of our community,” he said.

Mr Christians also called on the City’s nature conservation team to explain how they would be spending their budget to assist in changing residents’ perception of their environment.

Sub-council chairman Elton Jansen, also councillor for Ward 43, tasked Rocklands and Westridge councillor Ashley Potts with drafting a motion to increase the budget for the City’s Urban Waste Management.

Mr Jansen also said that millions of rands could be made in the recycling industry. “It is strange that we are in a poverty stricken community but the waste is lying all around us. This is money lying around us.”

He encouraged members to look at the sub-council’s business plan and incorporate it into a strategy to help the solid waste department’s public awareness programmes.

Mr Potts had earlier asked about the budget for this team and how the sub-council could better assist them.

City Solid Waste public awareness, communication and education professional officer Alicia Le Roux. Behind her are acting Sub-council 17 manager Goodman Lulamile Rorwana and chairman Elton Jansen.

City Solid Waste public awareness, communication and education professional officer Alicia Le Roux said that the budget was “limiting” and that they would welcome support from the sub-council.

Last month the City called on residents to renew their efforts to minimise the waste produced in their households.

In a media statement, mayoral committee member for urban waste management Grant Twigg said that as the human population was increasing and economies worldwide were becoming progressively industrialised “ways to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks associated with the waste our society produce” had to be found.

“Not only does litter from packaging spoil our natural beauty and damage the health of plants and animals, but gases released from food waste decomposing at landfills contribute significantly to global warming,” he said.

He said that these waste streams could instead improve livelihoods and the economy if minor changes were made to lifestyles.

The statement proposed reducing waste, by, for example buying only what you need, buying in bulk to limit packaging, taking your own shopping bags to the shops; recycling waste, like plastic, cans, glass and paper products; using organic waste to produce compost; and donating recyclables to community organisations, schools or entrepreneurs.

Mr Twigg said: “Waste minimisation will also reduce risk that the bin contents will be dumped in a nearby field or informal dump site before the next collection days. If communities can come together around this strategy, the potential to improve their area is massive.”