Tswelopele Clean-up campaign
Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa
In an effort to increase environmental awareness, the city of Tshwane has embarked on a monthly clean-up programme targeted at residents and businesses.
The Tswelopele Clean Up campaign was initiated through the Office of the Executive Mayor in the city of Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. On the first Saturday of each month, the Executive Mayor joins communities in cleaning-up their areas. The Mayor’s participation in the programme has drawn significant support from the private sector, who have partnered with the city to provide bags, gloves and refreshments to the participants. The programme has expanded whereby local communities are organizing their own clean-ups in problematic areas and the city provides a waste truck to assist them. Furthermore, it has created a platform where the city can further educate people about recycling.
Background and objectives
The city of Tshwane municipality has grappled with challenges relating to illegal dumping, littering and general pollution. In some areas around the city, waste has been deposited into water ways or storm water drains which overtime have become blocked and create challenges during times of heavy rain. Subsequently, the city embarked on a campaign to reduce illegal dumping and littering by creating a culture of environmental awareness.
The primary objective of the Clean-up campaign is to encourage communities to take collective responsibility for the natural environment around them. During the clean-ups, the city distributes black bags for non-recyclable waste and yellow bags for other recyclable waste. This helps to achieve the city's objective of diverting waste away from landfill sites.
The city of Tshwane aims to act as a point of contact with communities who want to drive initiatives aimed at cleaning up their local areas. In doing so the city strives to support these initiatives with existing resources as far as possible.
On the first Saturday of each month the city will conduct a Tswelopele clean-up in a different geographic location spread across the seven regions. Where possible, these clean-ups will also precede a public meeting so that residents can engage with the political leadership directly after the campaign.
At each of these individual launches the guiding framework should be as follows:
- Active involvement from political leadership (EM and MMCs) on the ground
- Time frames of 08:00 – 10:00 or 09:00 – 11:00 depending on availability of political leadership
- Direct partnerships with local businesses (sourcing volunteers, sponsoring clean-up materials, providing water, etc)
- Community partnerships with NGOs, churches, and volunteer groups
- City of Tshwane regional support (staff, trucks to clear waste, cleaning equipment, etc.)
- Media partners – targeting local community media (radio/print) in the run-up to particular launches to assist in communicating on the event and drive support
- Social media – Utilization of both City of Tshwane and Executive Mayor’s social media accounts to generate interest in events. Acknowledge role of sponsors and supporting partners
- Communications – Standardised website landing page to channel queries about Tswelopele and allow participants to register events that the city can actively promote.
Financing and resources
The city administration works to ensure that as far as possible the programme has a limited budgetary impact. Through the initial launch, thousands of black bags along with hundreds of gloves and bottled water were sponsored by businesses in the city and this support has continued to include each campaign that is organized. Further to this, it has also allowed the city to support smaller campaigns that might be taking place in particular communities.
Key partner departments were the Regional Operations Centre teams and the Marketing and Communications team who make a small budget of $7,000 available to assist with branding.
Results and impacts
As the campaign has progressed it has drawn significant enthusiasm from residents and businesses with smaller clean-ups being organized around the city. To date over 10,000 bags had been distributed to support volunteers and thousands of kilograms of waste have been collected.
Barriers and challenges
Inter-governmental support has been difficult to achieve as has buy in from major national departments.
Lessons learned and transferability
The clean-up campaign is easy to rollout and implement and would be transferable to other cities. Each month an operational plan is developed which indicates the location, meeting point and times and then distributed to residents and businesses well in advance.