Plea for road users not to lit­ter

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

AS part of the in­ter­na­tional day for peo­ple to do some­thing pos­i­tive for the en­vi­ron­ment, San­ral has asked mo­torists and pas­sen­gers to keep their lit­ter in their cars.

San­ral’s environmental man­ager Mpati Makoa said it was as­ton­ish­ing how many things peo­ple just throw out of their ve­hi­cle win­dows, with lit­tle re­gard on the im­pact it has.

Clean­ing up the mess is ex­pen­sive and time-con­sum­ing, and has be­come an un­for­tu­nate part of what the South African Na­tional Roads Agency SOC Ltd (San­ral) has to do right across the coun­try.

San­ral re­ported that a to­tal of 80 601 lit­ter bags were col­lected dur­ing the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year in the East­ern Cape alone. These were along the N2, R62, Tsit­sikamma toll plaza, R58, N19, N20, R390, R391 and the R396.

Around 10 cu­bic me­tres of lit­ter is col­lected per day per team on days that de­bris and lit­ter is col­lected. In some ar­eas col­lec­tion is done once a month, while in some twice a month. All lit­ter is dis­posed of at reg­is­tered lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal land­fill sites at each town along the routes.

There are some strange items that have been picked up by San­ral’s rou­tine road main­te­nance staff. These in­clude plas­tic bags full of used nap­pies, bot­tles with urine and an­i­mal car­casses amongst oth­ers.

Fast food wrap­pers, boxes and soft drink bot­tles are typ­i­cal lit­ter that is col­lected on a reg­u­lar ba­sis on na­tional roads. Loads of house­hold lit­ter in refuse bags are also picked up on the side of the roads, to­talling about six to 10 cu­bic me­tres in the East­ern Cape.

In KZN, the ex­pe­ri­ence is not much dif­fer­ent. The 138 km stretch of road from Umd­loti to Em­pan­geni is split into four sec­tions. An emerg­ing sub-con­trac­tor is ap­pointed for each sec­tion to con­duct rou­tine road main­te­nance and this in­cludes lit­ter-pick­ing. On this stretch, lit­ter pick­ing is done once a month at the be­gin­ning of each month. On av­er­age on each of the four sec­tions, 350 bags of lit­ter are picked up at the be­gin­ning of each month.

On the whole stretch of road, a to­tal of 1 400 bags are picked up monthly.

Look­ing at ma­jor routes in the both the Western and North­ern Cape, about 22 000 bags of lit­ter are col­lected on av­er­age, on a monthly ba­sis. Where pos­si­ble, a siz­able por­tion is di­verted away from land­fill and used for re­cy­cling ini­tia­tives, par­tic­u­larly glass and plas­tic.

“Pick­ing up lit­ter is part of rou­tine road main­te­nance du­ties. It takes 10 days to com­plete the lit­ter pick-up ex­er­cise. All the bags of lit­ter are loaded onto ve­hi­cles and off­loaded at reg­is­tered land­fill sites along the routes. The strangest items the teams have picked up vary from a wed­ding ring to strange toys that are best not men­tioned,” said Makoa.

PHOTO: SAN­RAL

San­ral on av­er­age col­lects 1 400 bags of lit­ter monthly along the 138 km road be­tween Umd­loti and Em­pan­geni, and pleads with road users to stop throw­ing things out of their ve­hi­cles.

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