Africa Takes Action to Mobilize the Continent for the World Cleanup Day 2018
Covering nearly 1,500 kilometres of the South African coastline, with a number of nodal cleanups to be implemented from Melkbosstrand in the west, to Ballito on the east coast of South Africa, the inaugural ‘Big Cleanup’ – a network of participating organizations and volunteer groups – delivered a wave of change to the shores this International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC), September 16th. This cleanup also marked one year to World Cleanup Day 2018.
Photo: Pupils from five schools participated in the WESSA Blue Flag International Coastal Cleanup event at Muizenberg beach last year.
The WESSA Tourism Blue Flag project – a three-year coastal tourism and youth development project implemented by WESSA in partnership with the National Department of Tourism – along with the Let’s Do It! Africa waste awareness campaign and other participating partners ran or supported a total of 22 registered coastal cleanup events. This collaborative effort enjoyed the official support of Plastics|SA as an implementer and main sponsor of the annual ICC event.
The International Coastal Cleanup initiative has been an unwavering platform to raise awareness on marine pollution, inadequate waste management, the need for recycling and non-littering in South Africa for the past 20 years. This year’s ‘Big Cleanup’ network enabled citizens to actively do something to improve the health of their local marine resources.
“Building on this model, the Let’s Do It! civic-led mass movement, currently being introduced to the African continent and neighbouring nations, works to unite the global community and encourages civic society members to stand up against the ever-growing trash problem by cleaning up waste both along the coast and inland. To date, 113 countries and over 18 million people have joined the campaign to clean up illegal waste,” said Louanne Mostert, the Manager of Marketing & Development of Let’s Do It! actions in Africa.
Coinciding with ICC in 2018, an estimated 150 countries and 5% of the global population will participate in the long anticipated World Cleanup Day on 15 September 2018, making it the biggest positive civic action the world has ever seen.
“Whilst global preparations are underway for the 2018 cleanup event, the Let’s Do It! campaign works to improve waste management in areas where waste is being lost to the environment, raise awareness about the issue, increase the frequency of citizen cleanups and raise future ‘waste warriors’ such as the youth employed as the Beach Stewards on the WESSA Tourism Blue Flag Programme, as proud coastal conservation ambassadors,” Mostert added.
Mostert admitted, that special environmental calendar days come and go, but stressed that the sustainability of the ICC and World Cleanup Day models serve as a strong indicator of what citizens desire – a clean and healthy, waste-free planet.
Other ‘Big Cleanup’ 2017 network partner organisations included: Two Oceans Aquarium; the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB); Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa; Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET); the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST); Boaz Ocean Awareness Yacht; the Coastal Cleanup Convention; Nature’s Valley Trust; and White Shark Ventures.
This network of coastal cleanups also enjoed the volunteer support of the City of Cape Town; Ray Nkonyeni Municipality; Knysna Municipality; and Overstrand Municipality.
To learn more about the various coastal cleanup events steered and supported by the WESSA Tourism Blue Flag beach stewards, Let’s Do It! Africa campaign and other participating partners, visit www.wessa.co.za or www.letsdoitworld.org.