NEW SERIES ON FIGHTING THE PLASTIC WASTE AND LITTER MONSTER
Posted on the 9th August 2018
The Overstrand municipality started with waste recycling many years ago and most of us have become used to doing our bit to recycle towards a cleaner environment. Hermanus has further won several environmental awards in the past, including the Cleanest Town Competition. The devastating destruction of the refuse transfer station and the town’s very successful recycle plant during the recent riots has effectively put an end to recycling in our area. All waste, including recyclables now get taken to the Karwyderskraal landfill site and one wonders how long it will take before another costly cell will have to be added to the site.
The CleanMarine campaign run by members of BirdLife Overberg is aimed at several interventions to conserve our precious coastal environment. These include educational campaigns, the erection of bins to collect fishing line, regular coastal clean-ups and collaboration with agencies encouraging recycling. We also regularly post handy hits on how to reduce and ultimately end the use of single use plastics on the ‘CleanMarine at BirdLife Overberg’ Facebook page.
Sadly, the excellent work done by our partners at the Zwelihle Recycle Swop Shop also nearly grinded to a halt due to the recycling plant being destroyed. Fortunately they started operations again yesterday (8 August) and the children were able to again take their collected plastics and exchange it for necessities. The waste collected will however go to the landfill site as the Swop Shop cannot sell the waste to the recycling plant, placing further financial pressure on the organisation. Some of the children will again participate in our coastal clean-up on 25 August.
It has become evident that all of us will have to investigate ways of reducing our waste stream. It was decided to launch a series of postings on practical ways in which we can reduce our household waste and litter stream. Many of these hints will be old hat to many people, but we believe that by highlighting as many ideas as we can get hold of we might be able to impact on the waste monster. Hopefully this attempt at reducing our waste streams will become a lifestyle. This does not only apply to us living in Hermanus, but it has regional and national implications. Any further ideas, suggestions and recommendation on addressing these problems will be welcomed.
Over the last few months we have experimented with several ideas to minimise our household waste stream. We have managed to more than halve the contents of our weekly refuse bag that goes to the landfill site. Most importantly, we have now nearly completely done away with our recycling bag so that such materials do not go to landfill. Many of these ideas will be perceived as being a bit crazy, but it gives great satisfaction when one makes a small contribution to treading more lightly on the environment. Our first feature article will appear in the next few days – watch out for it.
Narina Howard of the Zwelihle Recycle Swop Shop, the first recipient of the BirdLife Overberg Oystercatcher Hero Award, with coastal clean-up managers Elaine and Hele