Coast KZN

15 Oct 2019

Learners educated during marine week .

Nothando Mthembu (Southlands Sun) Picture: Grade 11 Christian High School learner Diteboho Sejanamane makes a disheartening discovery of a washed up crab entangled in fishing line.

NATIONAL Marine Week is celebrated every year during the second week of October. Its purpose is to create awareness on the marine and coastal environment, the promotion of sustainable use and conservation of these resources, for the benefit of all both present and future generations.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) Treasure Beach Educational Centre marked the week through a funfilled educational approach by hosting various Durban schools with tailor-made marine education activities. The educational programme was made possible by a worthy sponsorship from Mondi.

Of the many schools who got to experience and learn about the value of the natural gem that is the ocean, was Christian High School on Thursday, 10 October. The grade 10 and 11 learners got to interact with WESSA educational officers and learn about their eco-footprint, impacts of pollution on marine life, environmental conservation and climate change before embarking on a beach cleanup down at Treasure Beach.

Grade 11 Christian High School learner Khulekani Madlopha and Kevin Lakani conduct an experiment to test the impact of large volumes of carbon dioxide in the ocean.

“As part of observing and celebrating national marine week which runs from 7 to 11 October, we focused on various relevant topics including minimising our eco-footprint as it is one of the most damaging effects on our environment. It is paramount that we make the youth aware of how damaging some of the things they do in everyday life are without even realising it. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of practising the three R’s, namely to reduce, re-use and recycle in order to preserve and save our natural marine environment,” shared Wessa educational officer, Melissa Gumede.

Ntando Cele, Nsindiso Shoba, Thamsanqa Shandu and Claudia Ntanjana with one filled up bag and another one to go.

Heading the programme was environmental enthusiast Kevin Lakani from WESSA who strongly believes in planting the seed of environmental awareness in young minds as the youth have the ability to pass on the message to many others and lead by example. “Targeting school learners makes it so easy to do this as they are still at a learning stage and they can absorb what we teach them and further put it to practice in their daily lives, which is not always easy to do with adults. I am so passionate about the environment, my blood is green. Ever since I was young I always knew that nature plays a vital part in my life and that I need it more than it needs me. Without nature there is no life and it is through occasions like Marine Week that we seek to put this notion at the forefront, and remind people that they cannot simply expect the beach to be clean while they also litter and pollute. We cannot complain when we are the main contributors to the problem.

“We get a large portion of oxygen from the ocean and it is a natural habitat to an array of marine life which make up the aquatic ecosystem and further serves as food for us. We need to protect and preserve the marine and coastal environment in little and big ways every day. Spread the message, pick up the litter, minimise your eco-footprint and have fun while doing it,” said Kevin.

WESSA educational officer Kevin Lakani does his bit for the day as he picks up litter on the beach.

Leonard Mbokazi (Mondi) with Aphiwe Hadebe, Sizophila Chili and Luyanda Mdletshe