Remember when the Swartkops estuary was swimmable and free of rubbish? That was not so long ago. There was also a time when the places where we live, work and play had fewer ‘plastic flowers’ and less litter on the streets. These days, though, wherever you look – the Port Elizabeth city centre, the river banks, the beaches – plastic is there.
What does this have to do with you and me? As world-renowned marine biologist and creator of the Hope Spot initiative says, ‘Waste is a human problem. There is no waste in nature.’ It’s our waste, particularly plastic, that lands up in the sea and causes harm to birds, fish and other living creatures. For instance, just this week, a whale washed up in Plettenberg Bay with a big knot of fishing line in its stomach (the cause of death has not yet been established).
‘But what can we do?’ you may be wondering. There are many actions we can take. Reducing your use of plastic, for instance, or recycling the plastic you do use. You could join in civic actions, such as cleanups. Next week is the SST/ICC Cleanup Week. The aim of the cleanup week is to get rid of as much plastic in the Nelson Mandela Bay area as we can, but it’s also to collect data on the waste. Data can help civic bodies and decision-makers here and all over the world be effective in changing policy, for instance, or in putting pressure on industry to, say, change plastic packaging. It’s a small civic action that can make a difference.
The SST/ICC cleanup week begins this coming Monday 10 September and ends on International Coastal Cleanup Day on 15 September. Our goal is to make Nelson Mandela Bay the cleanest metro by 2021, and we’re starting with this civic action. Come join us.
SST/ICC Cleanup Week is split into groups:
Bags are provided, and cleanups are limited to an hour-and-a-half. Remember to download the Clean Swell app to record what you pick up. SST will also send its own data collectors.
Find more details on sst.org.za or on our Facebook page @SustainableSeasTrust.
More questions? Contact us on our Facebook page @SustainableSeasTrust
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