Knysna’s unemployed work with SANParks project to fight plastic pollution
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Cape Town - Unemployed people from Knysna have been roped in to clean up the town’s beaches and estuary as part of a clean-up project initiated by SA National Parks.
SANParks spokesperson Scott Ronaldson said that the teams collected 148 recycled bags of rubbish and 238 black bags during the end of December and beginning of January public holidays. Major litter items collected around the estuary were cigarette butts, cold drink lids, glass bottles and sweet packets.
Some 514 cans, 419 water bottles, 313 chips packets, 296 glass bottles, 257 carrier bags, 238 cooldrink lids, 128 earbuds and 194 cigarette butts were collected.
There are seven teams, each made up of 10-12 members that focus on clearing waste that could end up in the Knysna estuary. Five main stormwater channels are also targeted, which are linked to the estuary. The catchment areas of the Bigai River (Hornlee), the Bongani River (Khayalethu) and the Salt River are cleaned as well.
Ronaldson said they started cleaning from the parking area of Buffalo Bay and along the coast line from the Brenton area. We have also been working well with the municipality’s solid waste department that sends a truck to collect the bags of waste daily.
Garden Route National Park manager Megan Taplin said: “It’s important that residents of Knysna begin to reduce their own waste. A start could be buying loose fruit instead of the ones in plastic bags.”
Taplin said businesses and particularly restaurants in town had become more conscious of their impact on the environment.
Schools were also doing clean-ups with local NGOs, which was great. More people still needed to take necessary action towards reducing litter.
Teams were being placed at recreational areas, including Green Hole, Bollard Bay, Cathy’s Park and Coney Glen.
Ronaldson said they were making progress around the estuary and commended the restaurants at the Waterfront for their use of eco-straws instead of plastic straws.