On Saturday, 18 September the Nature Connect team once again gathered the troops and set on their mission to retrieve litter and plastic waste from the shores along Sunrise Beach to Muizenberg, as part of the International Coastal Clean-Up campaign. Learners from Silukhanyo Primary School, Strandfontein Primary School, Harmony Primary School, as well as the Village Heights Eco Buddies participated alongside the organisation in this popular international event. Collectively 80 learners and 20 parents participated from the various schools who joined for the big clean-up.

Captain Fanplastic ran a programme with the learners, which included a story about turning trash into treasure. The story then led into a treasure hunt to collect and record what plastic they retrieved on the beach. The learners, working in groups of five, collected a staggering 44 Kgs of trash from the beach, and data recorded showed over 500 items of plastic retrieved. The two groups who collected the most trash each won books from Captain Fanplastic.

Nature Connect’s school coordinator, Melissa Zackon tells us, “Pick n pay donated hotdogs for the learners and Krispy Kreme donated doughnuts. Plastics SA & Petco donated water, juice, bags and three gift cards to Pick ‘n Pay, each worth R300. We plan to use the vouchers to buy matierals for the schools to be used in their environmental management, as part of the Nature Connect Sustainable Schools Programme these schools subscribe to. We also received water, refuse bags to collect in as well as eco-friendly stationery kits for each learner.”

According to Leah Mulenga, another school coordinator at Nature Connect, “It’s always an amazing experience to have schools come out and participate in these events. The sheer willingness and excitement in learners to do their part in cleaning our local beaches is really inspiring. We even had a group of grade Rs join us this time around, which was very exciting! A big thank you to all the schools and partners that helped make the day a success.”

The International Coastal Clean-Up has been running since 1986. Organisations and members of public worldwide volunteer to clean up beaches, waterways and even the ocean surfaces. It is the largest voluntary environmental data-gathering effort and clean-up event of coastal and underwater areas to date.

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