Deputy Minister Thomson calls on South Africans to lead a healthy life in a clean environment

14 August 2018

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Ms Barbara Thomson led a clean-up activities where approximately six tons of litter was collected around Durban central and the Mangroves Nature Reserve North Beach in eThekwini today, Tuesday 14 August 2018.

Speaking at the conclusion of the clean-up activities, Deputy Minister Thomson called on all South Africans to lead a healthy life in a clean environment that will not harm their wellbeing. “The clean-up is part of means and ways of trying to manage the environment as we understand that marine species, whether plants or animals, are critical parts of the ecosystem.

Deputy Minister Thomson emphasised that a clean costal environment is at the heart of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy. “We cannot build oceans economy in a dirty environment. We should continuously engage in activities that will not only keep our environment clean, but also attract investors into the oceans economy space,” said Deputy Minister Thomson.

International studies have revealed that we have manufactured enough plastic since the Second World War to cover the entire Earth entirely in cling film.  The versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive nature of plastic are the attractive qualities that lead to an insatiable appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods.

The clean-up activities were undertaken in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality in an effort to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and oceans. The clean-up activities also form part of eThekwini’s Operation Khuculul’iTheku, a long term multiplier clean-up campaign aimed at creating a clean environment and a sustainable city.

The City of eThekwini is in its implementation phase of the City’s Regeneration Strategy, which seeks to deal decisively with the illegal elements and revitalise economic activities in the City. The operation ensures that the city is clean and there will be a total elimination of crime and grime. This operation tackles amongst others illegal dumping and other contraventions using a multi-disciplinary approach involving numerous departments.

The waste collected as part of the clean-up was taken to the Clermont and Westmead buy back centres, were recyclable items will be sorted for further processing. It is through infrastructures such as buy-back centres that waste can be turned in wealth, while unleashing the potential to address inequality, poverty alleviation and create jobs.

In a South African study of debris sampled along the South African coast, plastic items were found to be by far the most abundant, comprising 99% of coastal litter.

For media queries contact:

Albi Modise (Spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs)
Cell: 083 490 2871

Mandla Nsele (Spokesperson for eThekwini Municipality)
Cell: 083 308 2639

Jointly issued by Department of Environmental Affairs and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality