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I recently headed down to Merebank Beach in Durban with my family to take part in a cleanup organised by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) for International Coastal Cleanup Day.
I wanted to take part specifically in memory of my mom who passed away last year. Over the years as a teacher, she took many groups of children to do their bit for Coastal Cleanup Day. This year, co-hosts eThekwini Municipality, Durban Solid Waste and a number of corporates had pulled out all the stops so when we arrived we were greeted with lots of banners and plenty of enthusiasm.
What we found
In 90 minutes, our little team of three adults and two kids carefully recorded everything we picked up on data sheets that were handed out to us. Of the 604 items we collected, half consisted of only four types of single-use plastic:
- 124 plastic sucker sticks (Note to Self: No more suckers and lollipops for my kids or for handing out at birthday parties going forward!)
- 92 plastic bottle caps
- 66 plastic straws
- 46 earbud sticks
Scratching the surface
The whole event was a real-life illustration of the impact of our consumer lifestyles and we had only just scratched the surface – literally. If you dug down a little deeper there was so much buried rubbish, layer upon layer under the sand.
Let's do it all again next year
Next year, it would be great to come with many more willing volunteers armed with rakes and sieves to make it quicker and easier to pick up the millions of tiny plastic and polystyrene pieces.
Join the movement
Make your pledge to #uselessplastic and receive helpful hints and tips for a #postplastic life from WWF.