The partnership between Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages and The Beach Co-op has seen positive results in cleaning up various stretches of coastline this year. These included Monwabisi, Sunset Beach and the Robben Island coastline.
Community environmental organisation The Beach Co-op worked with various partners to collect over 2 153kg worth of litter during 30 beach clean-ups along the Cape coast this year. This, they say, makes barely a dent in the work that is still required to preserve the ocean and the wildlife that depend on it for survival.
“Our organisation, through research, evidence-based education and experiential learning, want to connect communities and people to keep South Africa’s beaches clean and to protect our oceans’ health,” says Megan-Rose Francis, Operational manager of The Beach Co-op.
Africa’s rapid urbanisation rate has challenged many countries to balance growth with sustainable waste management. South Africa has one of the highest urbanisation rates in the world. A UN report* says poorly run landfills and the levels of waste being washed into rivers and waterways contribute to between 90 000 and 250 000 tons of rubbish being dumped in the ocean every year. [i]
“That is equivalent to five garbage trucks dumping their litter into the sea every single hour. This has a huge impact on the social well-being of communities and poses a serious threat to marine life, human health, and all economies,” adds Priscilla Urquhart, Head of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages.
“As a responsible local bottling company, CCPB plays a visible and leading role in combatting waste. We continue trying to find new ways to educate customers and communities on how waste is affecting the environment, especially marine life. That is why we have partnered with organisations like The Beach Co-op, Robben Island Museum, Sanccob and the like to assist where we can,” she adds.
During the clean-ups, The Beach Co-op team has been documenting waste collected on the day, adding it to their research and analysis, including tracking the Dirty Dozen list of waste culprits.
“The Dirty Dozen™ are the 12 most common items found on our beaches and rocky shores. They largely represent our consumer habits, in terms of packaging for on-the-go food and beverages and were chosen as indicators of the most significant sources of plastic litter from ocean vessels, land-based sources and beach users,” says Francis.
These comprise of fishing lines, cigarette lighters, lollypop sticks, earbuds, straws, individual sweet wrappers, cooldrink bottles, water bottles, cold drink lids, carrier bags, chip packets and light-sticks.
The final partnership clean-up event for 2022 will focus on Camps Bay Beach on 15 December 2022. This stretch of beach has become an eyesore with the large amounts of litter finding its way there, say locals. (See invite poster attached.)
“The issue of plastics, recycling, and ocean pollution has never been more crucial. We all need to play our part in protecting the environment and the communities we live in, and partnership and collaboration is the most powerful way to achieve this,” says Urquhart.