The initiative will mainly be centred on the Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled in Tarentaal Road, Bridgetown and the Black River Canal running past Athlone. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town – Environmental organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will use International Mandela Day tomorrow to clean up the Athlone area.

The initiative, organised by graduate interns of the WWF’s Environmental Leaders programme, will mainly be centred on the Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled in Tarentaal Road, Bridgetown and the Black River Canal running past Athlone.

Other organisations joining hands with WWF SA in the clean-up and its attendant environmental education session include Help Up, the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust, Sea the Bigger Picture and Friends of the Liesbeek.

WWF SA spokesperson Andrea Weiss said the Cape Town Association of the Physically Disabled had approached WWF SA for help with cleaning up alien vegetation in the area.

“When the (WWF SA) team visited the site, they noticed that while there wasn’t a large amount of alien vegetation, there was a big problem of litter, particularly plastic, and so they decided that it would make sense to team up with other NGOs to tackle the problem.

“As Nelson Mandela Day falls within Plastic Free July, the educational part of this exercise is to raise awareness around the problem of plastic pollution, in particular when it finds its way into the Black River Canal, which flows past this area,” Weiss said.

Meanwhile the Two Oceans Aquarium will host a Trash Bash clean-up at Mouille Point Beach to celebrate Plastic Free July, on July 27.

Trash Bash is a campaign by the aquarium and The Beach Co-op, expanding on previous beach clean- up efforts. It will focus largely on the Dirty Dozen.

The Dirty Dozen are the 12 items that are most commonly found on beaches, including carrier bags, chip packets, cigarette lighters, cooldrink bottles, cooldrink lids and earbuds.

Aquarium spokesperson Renée Leeuwner said: “Our oceans are facing a human-made plastic catastrophe.

“With estimates being that by 2050 there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean, the time is now to make a difference and clean up our acts.

“Studies have shown that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from plastic ingestion.

“Plastic has truly permeated into the deepest recesses of our natural world and has even entered our own food chain,” Leeuwner said.

The clean-up takes place between 9am and 11am. The meeting point is the Green Point lighthouse beach parking lot in Mouille Point.