Trekking for Trash beachcombers find KZN has dirtiest coastline

2013-05-16 00:00

TWO conservancy-minded South Africans have picked up more than seven tons of rubbish while following South Africa’s coastline.

Since October, Michael Baretta (31) and Camilla Howard (30) have walked more than 3 000 km from Alexander Bay on the west coast to Kosi Bay in the east to raise awareness among coastal communities about the need for recycling and cleaning South Africa’s beaches.

They walked with special backpacks for rubbish, which a support vehicle collected each night and took to the nearest dump.

They walked about 25 km each day and camped at night.

The pair are from Cape Town.

When Baretta moved to Johannesburg three years ago, he was shocked at the amount of rubbish on the streets. “I realised it would take something drastic to make people aware of nature conservation,” he said.

He resigned as the manager of a marketing agency and Howard closed her catering business for the duration of the campaign, called Trekking for Trash.

Along the way the pair visited 16 schools and encouraged pupils to recycle rubbish and clean their beaches.

Howard said KwaZulu-Natal had the dirtiest beaches. At the Beachwood mangroves nature reserve in Durban, the community collected a truckload of rubbish, most of it coming from the Umgeni River.

She said plastic bottles were the most common items of trash, but they also found a few interesting items, like forged notes with a face value of R100 000.

She and Baretta persuaded packaging companies Nampak and Collect-a-Can to start a “Can Do!” fund. The companies have collected R30 000, which will go towards nature conservation programmes for pupils.

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