At least 250 000 descended on KZN beaches
"Durban - At least 250 000 beachgoers descended on KwaZulu-Natal beaches over the first “peak”...
THE Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has commended the massive efforts to clear the ocean after the nurdle disaster that saw 49 tons of plastic nurdles being released into the Durban Port.
“The incident resulted in widespread local volunteer-based clean-up initiatives across the KwaZulu-Natal province. These proactive initiatives are a demonstration of the high levels of environmental concern and awareness expressed by coastal communities,”said Zolile Nqayi, spokesperson for the Department .
She added that during the festive season 196 additional beneficiaries dedicated to deal with the plastic nurdles clean-up along the coast have been employed for a period of three months.
The spill was the largest plastic pollution event in South Africa’s history, with over 2 000 000 000 plastic pellets being released.
The SAAMBR team (South African Association for Marine Biological Research) said within days of the spill they began receiving calls from concerned residents, querying the sudden appearance of thousands of plastic pellets on the beaches, estuaries and in the surf zone. The SAAMBR team then launched an awareness and action campaign that has galvanised one of the largest plastic clean-up efforts in South Africa’s history.
“It was so encouraging to see the response of local people. From pre-school teachers to surfers, dog walkers to the media, many people responded to our call for help,” said Dr Judy Mann-Lang, Conservation Strategist at SAAMBR.
The Department added however that the clean-up was far from over and would continue for months. They said only 5.4 tons of the toxic nurdles had been been recovered after nine weeks, out of the 49 tons originally lost to sea.
Collected nurdles should be placed in a sealed bag and taken to your nearest drop-off point which can be found by visiting: www.saambr.org.za
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