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Home » Industry News » Recycling & Waste Management » Mitigating the impact of illegal dumping on Cape Town’s roads

Mitigating the impact of illegal dumping on Cape Town’s roads

Illegal dumping plagues many urban areas worldwide, and Cape Town is no exception. The reckless disposal of waste in the City’s stormwater infrastructure has far reaching consequences, particularly for our road network. As we grapple with seasonal rains this winter, the repercussions of illegal dumping become extremely evident, leading to exacerbated flooding and infrastructural damage.

 ‘To mitigate the impact of illegal dumping on our roads, it is important that we adopt a multifaceted approach. Residents must get to grips with the reality of the consequences of illegal dumping. It is crucial that we all get rid of waste in a responsible manner. Let’s please take care and be mindful of what we dispose of and how. I encourage residents to please be observant, and to notify the City immediately of those who dump waste such as building rubble, unwanted objects such as mattresses, and any other material in our stormwater infrastructure. The waste causes blockages that prevent runoff from rain to enter the system, and in the end, roads are flooded, and in severe cases even houses,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

Commonly discarded items include construction debris, household rubbish, and hazardous materials, which are often left on roadsides, vacant plots, and even in waterways.

Flooding is a major concern in Cape Town during the winter season. The clogged stormwater drains, overwhelmed by the volume of rainwater, result in water accumulating on roads.

This excess water significantly damages the road network in multiple ways:

·       Potholes and cracks: Excessive water exposure weakens the road surface, leading to the formation of potholes. The water seeps into the asphalt, causing it to break apart and erode.

·       Structural integrity: Roads are constructed with specific drainage capabilities to maintain their structural integrity. When water accumulates beyond the road’s design capacity, it undermines the foundational layers, causing cracks and subsidence.

·       Wear and tear: Continuous exposure to water, coupled with the weight of vehicles, accelerates the wear and tear of the road surface. This not only shortens the lifespan of the roads, but also increases maintenance costs.

The damage to roads due to illegal dumping and subsequent flooding has both economic and social ramifications. Repairing and maintaining the damaged road infrastructure requires substantial public funds, which could otherwise be allocated to other essential services. Additionally, deteriorating road conditions lead to increased vehicle repair costs for motorists, and the resultant traffic disruptions affect daily commutes, contributing to lost productivity and frustration among residents.

‘I want to, once again, implore with residents to please get involved in monitoring and reporting illegal dumping activities that can help identify offenders and prevent repeat incidents,’ said Councillor Quintas.

How to report blocked stormwater infrastructure, illegal dumping and potholes:

·       Use the City of Cape Town app

·       Phone the City’s customer call centre on 0860 103 089

·       Or, log a service request on www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Together, we can keep our city safe and resilient this winter.

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