Alison Bryant of the Keep Plett Clean Campaign is the winner of the Caroline Reid Award for the Cleanup Champion of 2019.
This new, annual award was established by Plastics|SA to recognise and reward excellence in South Africa by an individual in the field of marine and coastal clean-ups.
Making the announcement during a gala dinner to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Marine & Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) held at the Zeekoevlei Yacht Club in Cape Town last week, Douw Steyn and John Kieser of Plastics SA awarded Alison with a R10 000 cash prize and a floating trophy.
Caroline Reid was a passionate ocean conservation warrior from KwaZulu-Natal who tragically passed away at the age of 42 after she was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident in 2018. She was a dynamic cleanup champion who coordinated hundreds of beach and diving clean-ups and who was central in the work done with the loss of the plastic pellets (nurdles) in the Durban harbour in 2017.
A tireless ocean hero
“Caroline was a very dear friend who worked tirelessly to increase the awareness of plastics pollution on the KwaZulu-Natal Coastline. The conservation community suffered a huge loss with her untimely death. We therefore wanted to establish this annual award to not only remember and honour this wonderful person, but also to recognize and thank similar individuals who altruistically give up their time to make our marine and coastal environment a better place by combating pollution,” said Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics SA.
Plastics SA Sustainability Manager and South African coordinator of the annual International Coastal Clean-Up, John Kieser, said that this year’s inaugural competition drew entries from around the country.
“We were very impressed with the quality and quantity of nominations that were submitted for this award. The judges had a tough time selecting a winner from the 14 finalists who all proved their passion and commitment for our environment and were making a tangible difference through removing litter from our oceans and waterways,” he said.
The 14 finalists were: Aaniyah Omardien (Beach Co-op), Alison Bryant (pictured above, Keep Plett Clean Campaign), Ann-Louise van der Berg (Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa), Denzil van der Westhuizen (Clean Surf Project), Erin Conradie (Cape Agulhas Clean-ups), Jaco Kriek (#trashtag), Janet Ormond (Curb Plastic), Jessie Naidoo (Master Waste Management), Lisl Barry (#trashtag), the Mosselbank River Conservation Team, Pinkey Ngewu (Dyer Island Conservation Trust), Toshka Barnardo (Sustainable Seas Trust) and Zoe Prinsloo (Save a Fishie).
Ongoing education essential
Alison Bryant is the driving force behind the Keep Plett Clean Campaign – a community initiative that was started in February 2014 with the aim of keeping Plettenberg Bay spotless and a premier holiday destination. With the help of a group of 30 volunteers and a few permanent staff members, Alison ventures out with bibs and pickers every week to make sure every bit of waste is picked up and removed from the town’s beaches and streets.
Accepting her award, Alison thanked Plastics SA for launching the initiative and stressed the importance of ongoing education to teach the public and school children how they can help keep the environment beautiful and clean.
“I would like to pay special tribute to eco warrior Caroline Reid who embodied everything that we are striving for in our efforts,” she said.
The prize money awarded to the Keep Plett Clean campaign will be used to assist with paying for the transport of staff members and volunteers who need to reach outlying areas of the town in order to do clean-ups.
“This award shows that if we all do our bit and care for our communities, together we can really push South Africa forward and help our country go from strength to strength,” Alison concluded.