Fairmount supports beach clean-up

2018-09-18 06:01

More than 50 learners from Fairmount High School took part in the international Beach Clean-Up Day in Hout Bay on Saturday.

Natasha Krauss from Sea the Bigger Picture says the need to help educate the younger generation about the impact of plastic and pollution on the ocean came out of their free-diving experience. The organisation’s goal is to rid South African waters and beaches of litter through education, beach clean-ups and corporate engagement.

“We were inspired to make some changes because we free-dive two or three times a week and we often see the impact that plastic is having on our environment. One of the guys who is part of our membership has been doing a lot of work with I Am Water in terms of taking the kids to the ocean, teaching them about the ocean and the balance of life,” says Krauss.

Sea the Bigger Picture’s vice-chairperson Shamier Magmoet, is from Grassy Park and felt the need to involve the youth from his area in the project, hence Fairmount’s invitation to join them in the clean-up.

“We organised transport for them and they helped us clean the beaches. They will get an understanding of the impact that plastic has on the environment,” says Krauss.

The children were shown how plastic can be recycled and used to produce eco-bricks (two-litre plastic bottles stuffed with unrecyclable plastic).

Spot prizes were on offer which were donated by the Bay Harbour Market. Krauss adds that the clean-up was not just to beautify the area, but the children’s efforts were logged and catalogued and sent off to be added to the research already done on marine plastic waste.

“There is this massive push to remove the plastic. To see that plastic that was created in 1976 is still around. The first piece of plastic ever created is still around. It may not be in its original format. It is collecting that data and understanding where it comes from, where it goes, what happens in its lifespan, how did it degrade, because plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it just degrades to a smaller size,” she says.

Krauss admits that as a result of them performing their core function, other organisations have come on board to help the children at Fairmount High School, creating a snowball effect of projects which may become available to them in future.

“We will be working with Yacht Boaz, who will be taking these kids – not sure if all 60 will be able to go – to show them the kind of debris and litter that is found, not just on the shoreline, but out in the waters. We have an agreement with Boaz to do lectures on the boat itself for upcoming events. That is the kind of thing we want to do. We are keen to do collaborative events and educational seminars and fundraisers with organisations who have the same mindset as us in terms of reducing the amount of plastic which enters the ocean,” Krauss says.

She says educating children and parents on the impact of plastic on the environment is important and they aim for it to be sustained rather than the programme being a once-off opportunity.

“We want to inspire these kids to think past just what might be directly in front of them. We want to give them an opportunity to see past the ‘go to school, go to university, get a degree to work for somebody else’.

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