Cape Town - Every year massive amounts of plastic flows into the oceans, continuously contaminating ecosystems, but one Cape Town-based venture is working hard to remove these single-use plastics before they reach the ocean.
Izame Zabantu Nature Helpers, supported by local non-profit organisation Ikamva Labantu, has made it their mission to not only prevent ocean waste, but also to put food on the table and money in the pocket for participants
Under the leadership of Team Leader Nicholas Sundiro, the group has removed over 6 000 bags of plastic from the Black River mouth and beach at Paarden Eiland, while providing employment for the workers since their establishment in February this year.
Sundiro said: “The team are all now earning money for food and rent, and the work gives us all a positive feeling because we are helping nature. It is sad to see that the plastic never stops coming down the river, but picking it up and making sure less enters the ocean gives us a feeling of doing important work.”
The group said the volume of debris that flows daily into the Atlantic Ocean at the Paarden Eiland juncture was alarming, and the inflow of plastic waste never seemed to stop.
“I am humbled and encouraged each week by the dedication of the Izame team, who even through taxi strikes, walked in the rain from Philippi to Paarden Eiland to collect plastic, knowing that if they were not there, that load would be washed out to sea,” said Izame Zabantu founder Natanya Mulholland.
Probe Corporation SA, one of the project’s sponsors, said they believed in supporting people who made a difference and were impressed with how the organisation was striving to build a stronger and cleaner South Africa.
“Izame Zabantu has great potential to expand countrywide and we hope partners will join us in supporting this vital initiative so that it can replicate and grow,” said Probe Corporation SA chief executive officer Rick Rovelli.
The clean-up group appealed for support to help meet their target of collecting 66 000 bags of plastic in 2022, which required R 698 280 to cover their costs.