Litter is the most visual problem in the Vlei, but not the most serious. Litter needs to be addressed from three angles:
- Preventing litter ingress at source
- Capturing litter before it enters the vlei
- Collecting litter once it is in the vlei – community action
Preventing litter ingress at source
There are many options available to contribute to this. This is the most long-term sustainable approach, and includes lobbying to reduce the use of packaging material in industry. There are also several initiatives adding value to waste to incentivise collection. Community involvement in exploring, initialising and maintaining these initiatives are needed.
- PackaChing A recycle truck with a kiosk trailer attached drives through the community and parks at designated areas once a week to collect bags of separated recyclable plastic, paper, metal cans and glass. The concept currently does not include collection of the problem litter – polystyrene and chips packets which is the main composition of the litter in the canal currently.
- Bags made out of crisp packets (see e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ-sJdcdVmk )
- Polystyrene recycling network
- Precious plastic “We create tools that make it easier to start recycling plastic.” An open source blueprint to make machines from scrap parts to source, melt and create a variety of plastic products.
Capturing litter before it enters the vlei
This is currently done through litter nets, which are ineffective when it rains.
A better solution is the construction of a well engineered litter trap. ZAA engineers have designed a trap as their community project that also contributes to sediment and nutrient removal. The next step is to obtain an environmental impact assessment, and then source funds to build it.
This post on litter trap progress outlines the actions taken up until July 2017.
Collecting litter once it is in the vlei – community action
Once the litter is in the vlei the only option is to collect it by hand.