UKZN student Refilwe Mofokeng is appealing to the public to join her in cleaning up the harbour tomorrow
Durban - A University of KwaZulu-Natal Marine Biology student, Refilwe Mofokeng, is leading a Storm Response Harbour Clean-up initiative and is appealing to members of the public to get involved.

Mofokeng runs a non-profit organisation and has been holding monthly clean-ups to help keep the ocean free from litter for the safety of marine life.

“We have seen extensive damage in Durban because of the recent storm and now more volunteers are needed to assist in the clean-up operation.

“We need as many hands as possible to help keep the waste out of our waters and away from marine life,” she said.

Items such as plastic and polystyrene containers are being dumped and washed into the harbour, endangering marine life.

Mofokeng hopes to raise awareness about environmental issues and is appealing to restaurants to use sugarcane-based food containers instead of polystyrene, which is not biodegradable.

“I have received support from the Wilson’s Wharf Spur Steak Ranch and John Dory’s, as well as the Royal Natal Yacht Club and I hope more franchises implement these methods to sustain the environment.”

Mofokeng’s research focuses on the impact waste has on marine life.

“I feel that plastic - and especially the chemicals found in plastic - is extremely harmful to marine life, and to humans who consume seafood.”

Mofokeng hopes to extend the clean-up project into townships, where she says the collection of litter is mismanaged.

“It is essential to separate litter at the source and to also look at how recycling can generate revenue for many communities,” she said.

The clean-up is scheduled to start tomorrow at 8.30am in Durban Harbour.

Daily News