Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

We’ll fight the plastic flotillas on the beaches

By Terry van der Walt Time of article published Feb 10, 2021

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Although only recently officially formalised as a non-profit organisation, we have been involved in the river health environment for some time, engaging with communities and role players, including municipal and government officials.

We have a dedicated river-cleaning team permanently based at the Umgeni River mouth.

These community members have become the eyes and ears of this part of the river and have been able to report sewerage and illegal dumping issues as well as deal with solid waste. This particular team is funded by ADreach Group, a corporate that has been involved with this stretch of river for nearly two years.

We have connected with municipal officials to tackle pollution and sewerage incidents not only along this river, but across various KZN catchments.

We engage with local communities to assist with local river needs, especially in waste management.

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Our main aim is to facilitate partnerships between corporate, government and community role players for the benefit of our waterways. This is followed up by structuring and implementing solutions to deal with river issues.

Everyone benefits from this – with every intervention we help communities and the environment and hope to slowly make a difference each day.

River team members benefit directly from the employment the team structure provides.

3 things we’ve learnt along the way

1 River issues are not as simple as one might think.

2 We have a huge waste management problem, beyond “littering”, and we need creative and new ways to address this issue, particularly along rivers and waterways.

3 Corporates can be huge change-makers.

One team’s gathering. Once the larger items are removed we go back for the smaller tricky pieces like polystyrene, which is our worst enemy. Picture: Supplied

How you can help

Any support is helpful.

Spread the word and support local environmental initiatives.

Get your kids involved so they learn about the problem and are part of the solution.

Pressurise local stores to change packaging – there are alternatives to polystyrene and plastics.

Get more corporates involved because this means more teams, which means more rivers are taken care of.

Support local waste recycling initiatives.

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