NOAH’S Ark Preschool and DayCare Centre dressed up in blues and greens to celebrate Earth Day last week. This year the theme is “End Plastic Pollution on Earth Day and Beyond.”
According to reports, plastic has been one of the elements that have been a major factor to the contribution of pollution to the earth, from poisoning and injuring marine life to littering beaches and clogging streams.
Amanzimtoti’s Clean Surf Project has played a pivotal role in making the area and beaches cleaner. Denzil van der Westhuizen said: “As ocean lovers and regular beach-goers, our mission is to end the devastating impact plastic and polystyrene waste is having on invaluable ecosystems that ultimately support our existence as a species.” The group are always organising clean-ups and being proactive within the community as they aim to create a more environmentally conscious society that strives for a cleaner, healthier and more comfortable environment.
Candice Harding from the Clean Surf Project said: “In 2012, the stomach contents of a Sperm Whale that had washed up on a beach were examined. Inside scientists found, a 30 meter square tarpaulin sheet, 4.5 meter long hose pipe, 9 metre long plastic rope and two flower pots.”
Today more than 100 million tons of plastic is floating around in the ocean. All the plastic that has ever been produced still exists on the earth today. That is an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic. On average most people in developed countries dispose of 100 kg of waste per person per year according to the Clean Surf Project.
Plastic waste comes from everyday common, single-use plastics like food packaging, straws and more. The items are usually used for a few seconds or minutes and discarded. “Plastic does not biodegrade (rot), lasts on this earth for hundreds of years. In 2017, 160 000 plastic bags were being used every second worldwide. That’s as many packets as hairs on your head,” said Harding.
Different statistics are always released as to how much plastic that is produced is recycled, Harding believes less than one percent of plastic that is produced is recycled. “Most of it goes to landfill and the rest ends up in the ocean. When we litter, we are not ‘creating jobs’ we are adding to the other plastic and waste that is washed down storm drains and into our rivers and ocean. When we throw something away, it isn’t gone. We keep making more and more things; buying new things and throwing away old things. Eventually, we are going to be drowning in our junk,” said Harding.
The community is encouraged to practice the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle as every action counts.