WITH plastic pollution high on the global agenda due to the ongoing pollution of rivers and oceans, this year’s World Cleanup Day will be accompanied by a call to transition to a Circular Economy where the value of waste is never lost.
That’s according to Douw Steyn, Plastics SA’s Sustainability Director, who said the goal of the annual event is to remove as much litter from the environment as possible on a single day. This year it will be held on 18 September.
“Enormous amounts of waste are removed from the environment every year on World Cleanup Day. Last year 20 million volunteers participated across 24 time zones between New Zealand and Hawaii. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the day was an unprecedented success. We are very excited to once again join forces with more than 180 countries around the globe to help clean the planet on this day,” Steyn said.
“It is very important for us to communicate the message that plastics are too valuable to waste. They should never be thrown into rivers, streams or end up in the environment, but should be discarded properly so that they can be recycled into new plastic products that in most cases also have a longer lifespan than the original products.
“By picking up the trash with our own hands, sorting it and sending it away for recycling, we aim to increase the awareness of how our rivers, oceans and marine environment can be kept clean and healthy and at the same time support the economy and create jobs.”
Over the past 25 years, Plastics SA has been partnering with Ocean Conservancy by coordinating South Africa’s involvement in the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day. Both the World Cleanup Day and the International Coastal Cleanup Day are annual events that take place on the third Saturday in September.
They form one of the highlights of Plastics SA’s Clean-up and Recycle SA week, along with River Clean-Up Day (15 September) and National Recycling Day (17 September). It also coincides with Ocean Conservancy Week. Together, these days expect to see more than 150 clean-ups take place in South Africa during a single week.
“We are encouraging South Africans of all ages, races and backgrounds to participate in this year’s Clean-Up and Recycle SA week activities and to support the World Cleanup Day. However, the call also goes out to each member of society to be responsible in their daily activities by ensuring their recyclables are collected for recycling as we all continue to work towards the goal of creating a cleaner world.”
Steyn added that due to COVID-19, safety measures will be in place at clean-ups. “All participants are reminded to wear their face masks, maintain social distancing and sanitize their hands.”