Durban — The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), in collaboration with Ecohealth, the Department of Health and Refilwe Matlotlo non-profit organisation, hosted a beach clean-up at Durban Harbour to put to use the knowledge they acquired from the recent COP27 conference at Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt.
They also showcased current environmental health conditions to international delegates.
After the UKZN scientists attended COP27, they realised how much Durban has been exposed to the impact of climate change over the past few months, because of the floods, E. coli and sewage problems. Scientists expressed concerns about the impact of climate change on marine health.
Marine biologist Refilwe Mofokeng, co-founder of the Fefilwe Matlotlo organisation, said the organisation started because of marine pollution.
Mofokeng said the collaboration came about because they saw the loss was real. They decided to join hands to try to find solutions to how to reduce the problems ruining the ocean and bring about biodiversity in the ocean.
“Climate change is very topical. We saw the need to come together and figure out how we can reduce our carbon footprint, sustain and also maintain the work we have done because cleanups are always done but when we come back it is almost always dirty again,” she said.
Professor Moses Chimbari, Ecohealth international president, said after a week of great activities they saw it best to end it with a clean-up. He said this year’s theme was “Working together for a healthy, just and sustainable planet”.
“Cleaning and taking care of the planet is a social responsibility as the sea, the ocean are the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide and if we just let plastics fly around we are destroying the planet,” said Chimbari.
He said the corporate world needed to be held accountable as the garbage they collected could be traced back to certain organisations, and they needed to be told that they were responsible for damaging the sea.