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September 29, 2011

A culture of cleaning – Tidying Up Cape Town’s beaches

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Capetonians took to the beach on International Cleanup Day. Photo courtesy Blouberg Beach Cleanup

South Africa is an amazingly beautiful country with beautiful people and amazing possibilities.

One needs to look no further than Nelson Mandela who is a true inspiration and role model for so many people.

On Mandela Day 2009, a friend headed out onto the beach to “give” 67 minutes of his time, dedicating it to cleaning up what must be one of the most incredibly beautiful and famous stretches of beach in the world. Overlooking Cape Town, Table Mountain and Robben Island, he set out with his family and picked up litter. I was so inspired I also decided to start beach clean-ups.

Debating and worrying about where the litter comes from, as important as this is, is not what we are about. Yes, creating awareness and educating people about the importance of not littering is hugely important, but we hope that by our actions, people will start realising how vitally important it is for us to keep our beaches and city clean.

Our main objective is to get people together from the communities – Blouberg, Table View, Sunset Beach, Milnerton, Big Bay, Melkbos – and from anywhere in Cape Town to get together, bring their families, kids, dogs on a Saturday morning and go for a walk on the beach for 60 to 90 minutes and pick up litter.

It is a wonderful way for people to get out onto that stretch of coastline that we so often take for granted, and while picking up litter, get some fresh air and exercise and mingle and chat. We have had six clean-ups so far and collected over one ton of litter. The bulk of it has been recycled. Hundreds of pieces of plastic and broken pieces of glass are hazardous for kids and dogs walking on the beach, while much of the waste goes back in the ocean, chocking marine life – we want to avoid this at all cost.

If we could create a culture where every time someone goes to the beach for a walk they pick up three pieces of litter and throw it in a bin, people will start taking responsibility for their actions. And it’s not rocket science – imagine 1 000 people a day picking up three pieces of litter.

We would like to start getting groups of people together to be allocated stretches of beach all the way from Melkbos through to Lagoon Beach and Woodbridge Island. At the moment we focus primarily on the stretch from Dolphin Beach down to Bluobergstrand, but we would like to increase the area that
we are cleaning up.

Our next two cleanups are on October 29 and December 3. Please feel free to join us.

Our Facebook page is: Blouberg Beach Cleanup

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