Volunteers roll up their sleeves

2018-10-23 06:01
Volunteers cleaning the shores of Zandvlei.

Volunteers cleaning the shores of Zandvlei.

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A total of 105 volunteers offered their time and energy on Sunday 14 October to pick up litter along the shores and among the reeds of Zandvlei.

Under the motivation of Graham Rowe (canoeist) the group of people from various walks of life banded together to make a difference to an area they all enjoy in various forms.

Well-known “water brothers” were prepared to get themselves dirty, like top surfski paddlers Dawid and Jasper Mocke , the “old man” of stand-up paddling Gary van Rooyen, iconic canoeist and local resident Graeme Soloman, who through his company Bamboo Warehouse sponsored shirts for all the workers, and boys from Wynberg Boys’ High School.

Westerford High contributed workers from their Habitat for Humanity Society, 30 children from Guppies, lifesaving and other schools and locals, who just appreciate the area, all rolled up their sleeves.

The rubber duck made about 20 trips, mostly to the north shore, collecting the refuse from the workers.

There were three doctors on site and Mediclinic Constantiaberg supplied medical kits and was on standby should any of the volunteers be injured.

The Junior City Council also sent a team, including a master’s student doing research on the economic use of the vlei.

The weather was foul, but this did not deter the efforts and in the four hours set aside for the clean-up, 200 black bags of litter were filled, while five rubber tires, six foam mattresses, plastic crates, dolls, carpets, shopping trolleys, a TV and a car bumper were dragged from the vlei.

Graham Rowe said after the clean-up: “The main culprit is plastic, plastic, plastic in all forms; bottles and bottle tops are a serious issue; every conceivable plastic bag and polystyrene container you can think of. Also loads of disposable nappies! The real sobering statistic is that we did not collect one tenth of what is there!”

All involved acknowledged that this has to be an ongoing mission and committed themselves to any future clean-ups.

“If we clean up our vleis and waterways there will be less plastic entering our oceans,” he says.

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