Mountain of refuse from Comrades to be recycled
TODAY’S 93rd running of the Comrades Marathon is sure to generate mountains of plastic refuse, consisting mainly of water bottles and sachets.
To reduce carbon dioxide emissions at landfill sites, ethekwini Municipality’s Cleansing and Solid Waste Business Unit (CSW) is to ensure the collected refuse is recycled.
The acting head of the unit, Noluthando Magewu, said it had been appointed by the Comrades Marathon Association as its official waste management service provider.
She said recyclable items emanating from the race would be collected and then taken to recycling centres.
“This is in alignment with the government strategy of diverting waste from landfills, which is prescribed in the CSW Integrated Waste Management Plan, the City Climate Change Plan as well as the Municipal Circular 88 of the National Treasury,” said Magewu.
It has become customary for supporters who line the Comrades route, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, to offer runners water in bottles and sachets.
After drinking, the runners usually drop the empty containers on the ground.
Magewu said ethekwini Municipality had not yet reached its goal of reducing the amount of waste taken to landfills by 10%. However, during the 2018/19 period they were working on revitalising their recycling programme and planned to use the Comrades to test their progress.
“The recyclables generated from the race will be taken by the network of recyclers,” Magewu said.
Data on the origins of and types of plastic the race generated would be collected by staff of the Bremen-durban Ocean Champions programme – a joint initiative between the cities of Bremen and Durban – and the information would be used to develop innovative waste management strategies and monitoring tools.
Magewu also promised that day and night mop-up operations had been planned to ensure that all litter was collected and streets were swept and cleaned where necessary during and after the event.
Staff of the CSW have been preparing for a huge clean-up operation during the Comrades Marathon.