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03 Mar 2023

Top award for North Coast litter project

Juan Venter (North Coast Courier) Picture: The Litterboo Project. River wardens' go about collecting plastic in a river.

North Coast-born non-profit organisation The Litterboom Project (TLP) has won Ocean Hub Africa’s (OHA) Plastics Innovation and Circularity Challenge, showcasing their efforts to combat river pollution across the country. The challenge was held in Cape Town, where 40 innovators pitched their solutions to tackle plastic pollution. TLP emerged the winner, receiving R175 000 in prize money.

OHA is an ocean-impact catalyst that aims to accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable ocean solutions across Africa. Founded in 2017 by Cameron Service in Tinley Manor, TLP has been working to reclaim waste in eight KwaZulu-Natal rivers. Their innovative approach involves placing thick pipes across rivers to prevent floating plastics from reaching the ocean.

Litterboom Project founder and CEO, Cameron Service.

TLP’s “river wardens” intercept the plastic waste and work with reclaimers to recycle the collected plastics.

The organisation also operates an innovation hub that trains people from communities with severe plastic waste issues to create innovative products. This has resulted in the collection of more than 500 000 kg of plastic waste from rivers. Their Wastepreneur programme has become a valuable income-generating initiative.

Wastepreneur programme coordinator, Hanno Langenhoven said plastic pollution is collected, washed, shredded and then used in an injection molder. From this, they can produce products like combs.

Service was elated about their win and thanked their partners for their support. He emphasised TLP’s focus on environmental plastic pollution mitigation and their commitment to preserving South Africa’s rivers, oceans, and landscapes.

 

Thick pipes are placed across rivers to prevent floating plastics from reaching the ocean.

“Many people are unaware of the work we do towards environmental plastic pollution mitigation and, this win for us is symbolic of our progression towards growing our impact in a more strategic way,” he said.

OHA founder Alexis Grosskopf said entrepreneurship was a powerful tool to curb plastic pollution.

“While education, behaviour change and regulation are important drivers of change, businesses can play a significant role in implementing sustainable solutions.”