Cape Town – Big wave surfer Frank Solomon’s mission with Corona, a Mexican beer and a worldwide trademark to tackle the marine plastic pollution, ended with a beach clean-up at Milnerton.The mission saw Solomon travel from Durban to Cape Town this month to educate communities and drive awareness around eco-innovation to clean the beaches and protect the oceans along South Africa’s coastline. The tour included Jeffreys Bay, Umkomaas, Wilderness and Gansbaai before ending in Cape Town.
Solomon visited NGOs, marine biologists, shark specialists and others fighting for the country’s oceans.
“A big problem is public awareness. People are often overwhelmed by the problem, but if every one of us takes responsibility, by even picking up one piece of litter a day, every day, just think about the difference it would make,” said Solomon.
Solomon began his tour on November 7 in KZN, where he met up with Cameron Service from the Umgeni Litterboom Project to discuss a litter catchment system designed to collect rubbish in the rivers of Durban (uMhlanga, uMngeni and the Durban harbour) before reaching the ocean.
Solomon visited one of the rivers with Cameron where they conducted an organised riverbed clean-up with the local community.
Sifiso Pule, Corona marketing manager, said: “This is a cause that we’re extremely passionate about. Corona is a brand that celebrates a life lived outdoors and calls the beach and the oceans home, and it is committed to protecting its homeland.”
On the second leg of the tour, Solomon was joined by former competitive South African pool swimmer Sarah Ferguson.
Ferguson, an environmental activist on a mission to highlight the issue of marine plastic pollution, made headlines when she completed a 100km open ocean adventure earlier this year, from Ponta Dobela in Mozambique to Sodwana Bay in just six days.
“It is not too late, but if we do not change our behaviour today, the next generation may not have the privilege of encountering marine life like I have been blessed to encounter,” she said.
The Corona Coastal Clean-up then moved on to J-Bay, after a two-day retreat at Mdumbi Backpackers in Mdumbi, Transkei, where Solomon explored the topic of eco-tourism and sustainably-sourced seafood, with two of the shareholders.
Solomon recalled his experience: “For a community that is so closely connected with the natural world around them, the state of the environment is critical to their way of life.
"Whether it be for commercial or subsistence-based needs, the ocean provides a bounty for us all, as long as it is respected and protected.
“Even here, the scourge of plastic infiltrates the seemingly pristine landscape, littering the shore and surrounding communities.”