Coast KZN

19 Apr 2022

Tons of plastic collected on Durban coast

Danica Hansen (Berea Mail) Picture: Danica Hansen. Tons of plastic pollution entangled in the post-flood debris.

As masses of plastic pollution and debris washed up on Durban beaches, volunteers pitched in to help clean up the coastline. Among the teams collecting refuse is Adopt-a-River, a non-profit-organisation that facilitates partnerships between the corporate sphere, government and community role players to keep local water ways clean.

The team, continues to clean up beaches, today, April 19, working their way southwards from Blue Lagoon Beach.

Janet Simpkins of Adopt-a-River, said they have collected more than a ton of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic alone. They started cleaning up on Wednesday, April 13 and by Thursday, had collected three full skip loads of PET. This weighed in at more than one ton, a figure that continues to rise. The Adopt-a-River team was assisted by volunteers in the community to sort plastic from the debris for recycling.

“We are separating PET from the remainder of the plastic and trying to salvage polystyrene to send to various waste recycling plants. We have been showing volunteers the different types of plastic and asking them to separate it- it makes a big difference if we can send the plastic to the right places, so it’s not all going to landfill,” she said.

Simpkins explained that PET plastic refers primarily to cooldrink bottles. This includes clear, brown and green bottles, but excludes white milk jugs, yoghurt containers and other plastic containers.

The Adopt-a-River team sent PET recycling to Planetcare Durban and the remainder of the plastic to a waste beneficiation centre in KwaMashu.