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March 2018

3 unique hygiene challenges in Johannesburg

Written by Lemay Rogers
Environment and Green Hygiene Leave a Comment

We’ve explored the tough hygiene challenges facing Cape Town during the ongoing water crisis and considered Durban’s humid, tropical climate. Now it is time to look into the hygiene challenges of my favourite city; Johannesburg (no bias at all, of course).

Johannesburg is not only the largest city is South Africa but also one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. Rich in history and culture, Johannesburg is one of the continent’s main economic hubs, with a reputation for attracting wealth and those who chase success.  

With this fast paced, rapidly expanding city comes unique hygiene challenges;

1. Push the limits

This city is filled with people that live up to stereotypical phrases like “sleep when you’re dead” and “I didn’t schedule sick days”. Large companies, a lot of them based in Johannesburg, demand the extra mile and often stress is a key contributor towards illness. As noble as we think it is to go to work sick, it does have unintended consequence for the company;  a hundred sick days a year.

Cross contamination is one of the leading causes of illness in the workplace. As illustrated in the journey of the germ, germs spread with ease in an office environment. It’s important to follow a rigorous hand washing regime to keep yourself healthy and productive.


One of the best ways to prevent cross-contamination is to wash your hands thoroughly and make a habit of doing this throughout the day. Download our hand washing posters here and help remind your team about the importance of hand hygiene.

Download your hand hygiene posters


2. A city on the move

In January 2017 Wheels24 released an article on their website saying that Gauteng has 4.6 million cars registered on eNatis. With a large portion on these cars travelling in and around Johannesburg it’s safe to say that many of us spend a lot of time in traffic. Cars and public transportation have become mobile versions of offices, cafes and make up rooms. How often do you clean your car or sanitise your hands after using public transport? Come to think of it, not as often as you should right? Have a look at some hygiene hotspots you should focus on to keep your car germ free.

3. Rapid urbanisation

There are many studies that link rapid urbanisation to an increase in pest activity and disease.  A 2015 article released by the NCBI stated how rapid urbanisation was one of the great challenges of city planning.

In Johannesburg these challenges are evident as the rapid influx of migrant workers has lead to the massive expansion of informal settlements, insufficient sewage facilities and a lack of services like electricity and water. People living in impoverished areas of the city are often not able to dispose of waste or observe standard hygiene practices. This fuels pest activity as a new food source is created.

Of course, pests don’t stay in a demarcated zone.They spread to adjacent neighbourhoods and businesses, spreading disease. It is important to proof, limit food sources and to get a pest problem under control as quickly as possible. Pest control is everyone’s business. During the management of an infestation, you need to ensure you regularly sanitise surfaces and equipment to maintain good hygiene standards.  If you are in the hospitality or food manufacturing and preparation sectors you may want to consider adding CaterClean to your kitchen’s cleaning regime.

Staying true to the city’s culture, the message is “move at pace”. Include good hygiene practices in your everyday routine, share best practice and limit cross contamination. To learn more about the various aspects of hygiene subscribe to our blog or contact Initial if need hygiene solutions to assist your business.

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Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial South Africa, and supports the Sub-Saharan African businesses. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a toddler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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