OMTOM To Get Tough On Litterbugs
It's the end of the road for runners who don't responsibly dispose of their waste, as the organisers of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon announce their new zero tolerance approach to littering.
Carol Vosloo, General Manager of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC, says that the OMTOM's anti-littering policy supports the event's #GOGREEN campaign - a campaign run in conjunction with Old Mutual and Wildlands - and that no littering will be tolerated anywhere on the route, including the start, finish and refreshment stations. There will also be severe consequences for runners who continue to litter intentionally.
"Over the years, we have looked at different solutions to encourage runners to not throw their race waste like plastic water sachets, water sachet corners, paper cups, bottles, wrappers and containers on the road and in the bushes. And despite having clean-up crews working around the clock during and after the race to return the route to pristine condition, the wind still carries much of the discarded waste into drains, culverts and the ocean," Ms Vosloo adds.
"While we have tried various approaches - from gentle collaborative encouragement to more direct instruction - some runners still find it acceptable to litter along the route. As a result, we are now adopting a more hardline approach. Participants guilty of intentional littering may be fined, disqualified or even barred from future OMTOM events."
Littering is defined as the act of disposing of waste items anywhere except in a container provided for that purpose. In the context of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, the organisers distinguish between two kinds of littering:
- Unintentional littering where the intention was to throw waste into the bin provided, but the runner misses.
- Intentional littering where a runner disposes of race waste where no litter receptacle is provided, OR where there is a bin provided and the runner intentionally litters away from the bin area.
The events forming part of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon run along environmentally sensitive areas, including the Table Mountain National Park, Chapman's Peak and the Atlantic Ocean. And while the OMTOM has a comprehensive waste management plan in place, the event has in recent years been the subject of criticism for ongoing littering by its participants.
"This year we will introduce official Throw Zones - large and clearly branded bins that will be placed at every kilometre point and after every refreshment station, explains Ms Vosloo. "In addition, Throw Zone marshals - who will also be known as Green Champs - will be on standby to encourage and remind runners to dispose of their race waste in the Throw Zone bins only.
"In conjunction with these Throw Zones, we are also adopting the IAAF Yellow / Red card principle. Participants identified by race officials as littering will be shown a Yellow card and given a warning. A second yellow card may result in a red card (disqualification) during or after the event. In addition, video cameras on the route will be reviewed both during and after the event for evidence of participants intentionally littering and referred to WP Athletics for disciplinary steps."
Spectators and supporters are encouraged to take their waste back home, or to make use of any nearby Throw Zones and bins. Municipal by-laws indicate that spectators and supporters can also be charged with littering.
"We want to keep the world's most beautiful marathon litter-free. Let's work together to achieve this," Ms Vosloo concludes.