PICS: Destiny Whale Project art installed on the Bluff

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Jul 3, 2019

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Durban- An exciting waste management project called the Neptune Project made its first appearance at the welcoming of the whales festival on the Bluff, south of Durban on Saturday. 

The Neptune Project is an initiative of the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Waste and Climate Change at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal headed by Prof. Cristina Trois and forms part of the Green UKZN Program.

Gisella Reale the Research Project Co-ordinator and South African Research Chair in Waste and Climate Change (SARChI Group) University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Engineering explained that the project focuses plastic in the oceans and aims to create an awareness of climate change and its impact on our environment. 

Umcebo Design is a self-sustaining social enterprise based in Durban, which creates handmade décor items and wall installations, inspired by flora and fauna themes, using recycled and a range of other materials.

The Neptune Project includes four sections: The Umcebo Design Art installations; an Eco Fashion show (in collaboration with the DUT students); a short video about plastic pollution in the oceans and an underwater photography exhibition.

The vision of the Neptune Project is to create a permanent art exhibition of recycled artwork at the Unite Building (School of Engineering)UKZN . 

The mission is to create an awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and to highlight the value of recycling at a community level as a possible solution.

 The project is also seeking to share with the general public the output of scientific research developed by the School of Engineering at UKZN, in the field of managing waste as a resource.

Reale said the idea is to use Art as a form of communication to inform people outside the University’s Campus about what the Science Community is doing about climate change issues, such as plastic in the oceans. 

With this project the Sarchi Chair in Waste and Climate Change hopes to reach out to the people of SA to unite in the fight against plastic pollution in the ocean and in the environment and to support scientific research.

This is also relevant, given the launch of the first coursework Masters in Waste and Resources Management at UKZN School of Engineering, which hopes to attract postgraduate students from all over SA to specialize in this strategic and crucial sector.

The official opening of the Neptune project will be linked to the Waste to Resources Summer School (School of Engineering) in November 2019, as part of an event, where different stakeholders, including industry, the municipality , media and various organizations will be invited to attend and participate.

Robin Opperman, Creative Director- Umcebo Design said the Phase 1 of the Destiny the Whale Project completed- with the installation of the piece, corner Marine Drive and Grey’s- on The Bluff. 

"We built the piece with the kids at Eden using a design by Mike McFadyean and are so pleased to see Sodurba and Fabricon installing it so beautifully. An example of effective creative waste management. We start attaching the recycled plastic fish to the first board- so they look like a swimming shoal of fish. ,"Opperman said.

The project is a joint effort of a very committed Team, made up of: Prof. Cristina Trois; Gisella Reale Manager of IWWG SARB (International Waste Working Group- Southern Africa Regional Branch)and Project Coordinator; Robin Opperman; Jackie Sewpersad (Creative Consultant- Umcebo Design) and Cristina van der Westhuyzen (Project Facilitator- Umcebo Design).

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