Department of Environmental Affairs leads a clean-up campaign in the Caluza area and Umsunduzi River as part of National Marine Week

09 0ctober 2018

 

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) launched the annual National Marine Week (NMW) awareness campaign yesterday, 08 October 2018, in KwaZulu-Natal. As part of the campaign, a clean-up of the Caluza area and Umsunduzi River in Pietermaritzburg took place, where a total of 1408 kilograms of litter was collected. The collected litter consisted mainly of domestic waste, such as glass bottles, diapers, plastic bottles and cardboard boxes.

NMW is observed annually during the second week of October. This is intended to highlight the importance of oceans and the role they play in the lives of all South Africans. The main objective of the NMW is to create awareness about marine pollution, particularly plastics and micro-plastics, in the ocean and coastal ecosystems.

A number of global programmes, that South Africa is a signatory to, have recognised land-based litter as one of the key sources of pollution in the ocean and coastal environment, and seek to find collective means and ways to engage governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector to find solutions to address the plastic litter challenges and problems in the marine environment.

In response to the above commitments and marine litter problem in South Africa, a source to sea initiative, aimed at preventing waste from land-based sources into the marine environment, will be launched in the near future and a national rollout of this initiative is imminent and will receive widespread coverage over the coming months.

Another important objective of the source to sea initiative and the NMW campaign is to impart the message that “Litter-free land for litter-free oceans.” A reduction in the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic products is encouraged together with a “recover, reduce, re-use and re-cycle” message and approach at a citizen’s individual-level.

Since 2015, when the United Nations identified pollution, especially pollution originating from land, as having an impact to the health and integrity on marine ecosystems, South Africa has flagged marine litter as a priority source category of marine pollution to be addressed. Globally, it is estimated that roughly 80% of all marine pollution originates from activities carried out on land through various streams and tributaries to major rivers and eventually ends up in the oceans.

Some of the NMW programmes for this week include outreach campaigns aimed at raising awareness for conservation of the ocean and coastal ecosystems, through encouraging good behaviour and using good standards of disposing waste in inland areas (the source) because the waste that is disposed ends up in the oceans and coasts.

The awareness campaign is aimed at educating the general public, particularly, the youth – as well as enticing young minds to the field of marine-related professions. It endeavours to bring outreach to allow politicians, public and the young to understand the value and role of the oceans. A campaign comprising of exhibitions, school visits and public gatherings will be set up to focus attention on pertinent marine and/or environment issues.

The DEA encourages all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to engage in relevant activities, and spread the #NMW2018 message under the theme, “Nature knows no Waste”.

For media inquiries contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483 /
E-mail: znqayi@environment.gov.za