Why is rubbish building up in Khayelitsha? An investigation into the contestation over Khayelitsha’s refuse removal service

Year: 2019
Working paper number: 427
Author: Emma Green
Unit: SSU

This paper explores the sources of inefficiency in the door-to-door refuse collection system supposedly provided to Khayelitsha’s informal areas, and the behavioural determinants that influence whether residents respond by dumping their rubbish or taking it to the storage containers themselves. Drawing on qualitative research and the Khayelitsha Rodent Study’s (KRS) representative survey of Site C, Khayelitsha, the refuse system’s breakdown is attributed to unclear cleaner contracts, residents’ aversion to leaving out rubbish bags, theft of delivered plastic bags, and insufficient information provided to residents about the service. Over a third of the KRS respondents in informal areas reported dumping their rubbish as their main method of refuse disposal. Using probit regression analysis, believing that one’s neighbours do not criticize littering behaviour and a larger household size are associated with the most substantive increases in the average marginal probability that a household will dump its litter. The paper therefore recommends a revision of the current system, and more extensive education campaigns about littering consequences and the refuse removal service.

Publication file: WP 427 Emma Green