International Coastal Clean-up And World Clean-up Days a Huge Success

Plastics|SA’s 25th year of coordinating South Africa’s participation in the International Coastal Clean-Up Day, was once again a huge success. This year’s event and the World Clean-Up Day took place on Saturday, 18th September 2021.

More than 15 000 volunteers took part in clean-ups in the coastal areas, as well as at rivers, streams, inland water sources and in communities throughout the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape under the International Coastal Clean-Up and Clean-up & Recycle SA banners.

We handed out 350 000 refuse bags to coordinators and clean-ups will continue deep into October in certain areas due to ecological reasons, such as shore birds that are currently breeding.

Some of the country’s beaches were very clean thanks to pro-active communities who have started to collect waste on the coastal rim during their daily walks.

Clean-ups rely heavily on the support, acknowledgement and participation by local authorities and John Kieser, PlasticsSA’s Sustainability Manager, reported that the Cape Provinces saw a marked increase in their uptake of the project this year. The City of Cape Town and the provincial support reached new impetus with their adaptation of litter booms in rivers and increased awareness projects to tackle littering, increasing collection for recycling and curbing dumping.

Despite these efforts, plastics pollution was still very prevalent. Bottle tops were the most collected macro item in urban and non-urban clean-ups, followed by plastics earbud or lollipop sticks.  Although volunteers collected some PPE items such as masks and gloves during their clean-ups, it was encouraging to note that it was not at the same magnitude as being reported in the Northern Hemisphere. A detailed report of the amount and type of litter that was collected will be released later this year after Plastics SA has compiled and assessed the audit forms.

We would like to thank each volunteer that participated in this year’s Clean-Up & Recycle Week SA and helped to raise awareness about the importance of removing litter from the environment. It was great to see so many people arrive at both formal and informal clean-ups, grabbing the refuse bags and simply starting to clean the rivers and beaches.

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