Eco warriors declare ‘war’ on beach plastic
A collaboration between Merrifield, Lilyfontein, Local Yokel, the Ocean Lifeline Project and Craig Giese Photography yielded a very successful clean-up at Nahoon Beach last week.
Groups of pupils from Merrifield, Lilyfontein and Clarendon, together with parents and teachers and 90 volunteers, walked along the shoreline watching out for any offending litter.
Volunteers spent the afternoon sifting through the sand in a bid to collect as many pieces of micro plastic as possible.
During the clean-up, volunteers could also recycle the plastic they found into eco-bricks.
“Eco-bricking is such a great way to minimise the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and eventually back in the ocean, so we thought having them on hand during the clean-up would make the most impact,” said teacher and head of the Eco Club at Merrifield, Chay Bachar, who coordinated the event.
The clean-up rid the beach of many nurdles (small plastic pellets), pieces of styrofoam, plastic earbuds and other pieces of plastic waste – such as food wrappers and bottle tops.
Bachar said in total, the group managed to fill four eco-bricks to the brim with a large amount of micro plastic found along the beach.
“Plastic never disappears in the ocean, it just keeps breaking into smaller bits,” said Bachar.
Ocean Lifeline Project member, Tamarin Freeman-Elliott, said that these small bits of plastic caused the most harm to marine life.
“There is a lot more of this needed in East London, because plastic pollution causes so much damage to our eco-systems. This clean-up was not just about making our beaches cleaner, it was also about instilling a passion and a continued consciousness in the care of our oceans,” said Freeman-Elliott.
Mother of two Merrifield pupils, Rajeshree Govender, who joined her children at the clean-up, said that her daughter, Akiera was a little eco-warrior and had inspired the family to become eco-conscious. “The way I see it, there are seven types of turtles and six of them are endangered so we can’t just sit back and watch, we have to do something,” said Merrifield matric pupil, Farah Narkedien.
Lilyfontein teacher and head of the Eco Club, Genevive Steyn, said that the clean-up also served as a means to make people aware of the issues and show them how quickly and easily they could make a difference.
“I never really knew what eco-bricking was before they showed us today.
“It’s my first time taking part in a beach clean-up. There is so much litter and so much plastic. I’m really happy I helped out today,” said Clarendon High Grade 10 pupil, Linique Cox. — MadeleineC@dispatch.co.za