South Africans of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to do their share to keep our country beautiful during Clean Up South Africa week which will take place from 13 – 18 September. Various clean-up and recycling activities will take place throughout South Africa this week, culminating in Recycling Day on 17 September and the 25th International Coastal Clean-Up Day on 18 September.
The South African Plastics Industry’s Enviromark is calling on all South Africans to do their share in keeping South African beautiful and litter free during this year’s special clean-up week.
According to Douw Steyn, Environmental Director of the Plastics Federation of South Africa, the aim of this week is to raise awareness so that everybody can make a difference by keeping South Africa clean and litter free.
“The Clean-Up South Africa Week aims to focus on the importance of individual efforts. Regardless of your age, background or income, each South African citizen has a responsibility to help rid our country of litter and recycle waste, whether they are at school, in an office block or even an old aged home. Every paper you pick up and every plastic wrapper you throw into the recycling bin makes a huge difference in the collective end,” Steyn says.
Touting the economic benefits of recycling
Various activities are being planned by individuals, schools and community groups between 13 and 18 September. The Enviromark team will be focusing their attention on Recycling Day.
“On this day, we’ll raise awareness by educating the community about the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling,” Steyn says.
The South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and the Plastics Industry’s Enviromark will also mark this day by announcing the winners of their ‘100% RECYCLED, 100% CREATIVE SAPRO / Enviromark Recycled Plastics Product Competition for 2010. South African converters and innovators who have given their creativity free reign in various product categories will be honored at a prize giving ceremony in Midrand, when the winners of the first annual competition will be announced.
“We are seeing a growing awareness and interest in recycling among all sectors of the South African society. Our message about the importance of the three R’s (i.e. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) is being heard by business, government, individual citizens and organizations throughout the country. The South African plastics industry is leading this wave by providing support to individuals and organizations who recycle plastics into a wide variety of products, such as fiber, carpets, plastic bins and containers, pipes, gumboots, picture frames and plastic timber which looks like wood. The ongoing challenge, however, lies in educating consumers about their role in recycling plastics and developing new ideas and markets for the products.”
Join the International Coastal Cleanup
The Plastics Federation of South Africa is also calling on South Africans to help make our country cleaner and healthier by removing litter from our beaches and rivers on International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
“Last year alone, nearly 400,000 volunteers (from over 100 countries) collected more than 3.2 million kilograms of litter from the oceans and waterways,” says John Kieser, Environmental Manager of the Plastics Federation of South Africa (Plasfed) and National Coordinator of the event.
In South Africa alone, 16 000 volunteers in the four coastal provinces removed more than 10 tons of litter in 2009 during the week prior and on the International Cleanup day.
“Litter in the ocean isn’t just ugly, it impacts everything,” Kieser goes on to explain.
“It can make the ocean more vulnerable to impact from climate change, coastal development and overfishing. It impacts local economies, seafood industries and recreation, and reduces our access to beaches.”
September is clean-up month
During the month of September, South Africans will have the opportunity to participate in cleanup activities all over South Africa. Whether at inland waterways, on local beaches, in streams and dams – no matter where we live, we’re all connected to the ocean.
‘Even litter that falls from our hands hundreds of kilometers away, eventually finds its way to the ocean,’ Kieser says.
Turning the tide on litter is one of the easiest ways to help protect our country. Together, we can solve the problem of litter lining our streets and waterways and prevent its most serious impacts. Although rubbish is one of the most widespread pollution problems we face, it is also entirely preventable, and cleaning it up is fast, easy, and fun.
When you volunteer your time and energy during Clean-Up and Recycle South Africa, you will be joining a countrywide movement of individuals who are turning the tide onlitter in our beautiful land.