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3 times less litter in Cape Town & Durban CBDs during hard lockdown, study finds

Researchers studied the arrival rate of new litter in a specific area in these two cities, gauging the impact of the lockdown on the amount of waste detected.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - A recent study has found that loads of litter in the Cape Town and Durban CBDs were three times less during the hard lockdown, compared to when restrictions were eased.

Researchers studied the arrival rate of new litter in a specific area in these two cities, gauging the impact of the lockdown on the amount of waste detected.

In Cape Town, 3,741 litter items weighing a total of 18.2kg were collected over a 50-day period from the start of lockdown level 5, while in Durban, 2,271 items weighing 7.6kg were collected over the same period.

Director of the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, Professor Peter Ryan explains: "Standard protocol is to clean an area and then look at the arrival rate of new litter so it doesn't get confounded by waffle that is there, so for 50 days we just monitored the arrival rate of new litter and looking at where it came from."

Ryan said that despite the continued ban on the sale of tobacco products at the time, they observed an increase in the presence of tobacco-related litter products at both sites throughout the lockdown.

Street litter increased three-fold in the Cape Town and Durban CBDs as the national lockdown was eased from level 5 to level 3.

The results mirrored what was reported by the Central Improvement District.

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