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"While on an assignment in the Virginia Bush Nature Reserve last year, I found that the bush...
A mammoth total of 1 300 of rubbish was collected at the mouth of the uMngeni River over the space of two days after residents, a local conservancy and local businesses rallied together to clean the clogged waterway. Their efforts come just two days after a study published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) saying plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound by 2050. Estimates suggest that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269 000 tons, floating in the world’s oceans.
More than half of the rubbish collected at the river mouth was plastic bottles and broken bits of polystyrene. Durban North resident, Morag Wade-Lehman, who regularly cycles with a group across the Ellis Brown Viaduct, says she noticed copious quantities of rubbish collecting at the river mouth.
“We were sitting down having coffee when we had the idea to clean up the river mouth instead of moaning about it. So we went down there, and because of the recent rains, there were just hundreds of plastic bottles and other bits of rubbish stretching for almost a kilometre. You know the pollution situation is bad from the bridge, but it’s when you are actually down there that you realise the extent of the rubbish.
“There were a number of local residents, including members from the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy, as well as companies, Evolve Office Solutions, Thames Construction and McCarthy Toyota Durban North who also participated in the bag removal. Within two days we had collected 1 300 black bags of rubbish. I must admit, it was quite satisfying seeing so many people come together and seeing the message of doing your bit for the environment spreading on social media. I’m just a little cog in the wheel, but it’s better than doing nothing,” Wade-Lehman said.
“We finished off by ferrying most of the bags across the river onto the land at Blue Lagoon, using a rubber dinghy, before the tide came in and halted our operation. We now hope that DSW does their part and removes the bags before any more severe rain,” she said.