City can do better

Rose Jones, Fish Hoek

On Monday morning January 25, I was chatting to my husband over breakfast about how trying to live on a more even keel, with greater awareness and less reactivity helped me to be more energetic and focused. Not long after that, I took our Jack Russell for a walk along the main road past the Fish Hoek circle and towards Glencairn. It was a lovely day, the sea looked stunning and my dog was (sort of) behaving for a change.

We had just walked past the pedestrian bridge when ahead of us I could see a lot of blue bags lying on the pavement. As I came nearer, I estimated that there were at least 25 bags, all lined up a couple of feet apart from each other in a long line.

I walked past a few, then prodded one with my foot and heard the rustle of leaves. Each of these bags contained a few handfuls of leaves, maybe enough to fill a small bucket. So I figured that all of these 25-plus bags could probably be put into one bag, and with that thought my inner calm went pop and my anger fizzed out.

I had walked past a couple of council workers sweeping the leaves into the offending bags, so now I turned back and approached one to enquire why so many bags, hoping that perhaps she would answer in a way that could restore me to my previous equanimity. No such luck. It seems that this is done for convenience, and the hope that perhaps the bags were going to be reused or re-purposed was clearly not part of the plan.

So, while some of South Africa and the world are striving towards the banning of single-use plastics and a more environmentally conscious world, the City of Cape Town thinks nothing of using 25-plus plastic bags for what could fill maybe half a wheelie bin. With leaves. Because we can’t have leaves on the road or pavements, heaven forbid. And when I glanced over the wall to the grass along the railway line, it was littered with plastic and rubbish.

Yes, I do know that in the bigger scheme of things and with Covid’s devastation causing so much loss, depression and disaster this is a minor complaint, but it was just another human behaviour or set of rules which seemed illogical, wasteful and mindless. Or is this just me suffering from Covid fatigue? Surely, City of Cape Town, it can be done better?

• Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg responds: The City thanks you for the feedback. Given the scale of the City’s operation, constant oversight of workers is often not possible. Public complaints help us identify and address problems in efficiency and service delivery more quickly.

The City’s cleansing department will investigate this kind of behaviour as this can be seen as a waste of bags. Supervisors have already been asked to look out for this. Staff members will be reminded that this is tantamount to wasteful expenditure.

If you see a repeat, please report it to 0860 103 089, and the relevant manager will be notified. Disciplinary measures will be applied after assessments if this continues.