INDUSTRY umbrella body, Plastics SA, used the recent National Water Week to recognize the commitment and dedication of the country’s “water warriors” by awarding the annual Caroline Reid Awards for Clean-Up Champions of the Year.
“We launched the Caroline Reid Award in 2019 in memory of a fearless and passionate conservation warrior who was also a very dear friend of the industry,” said Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics SA, adding that Reid died in 2018 after an accident.
“We wanted to ensure her memory and passion live on with these awards that recognise and reward greatness by an individual in the field of inland, waterways and marine and coastal clean-ups.”
Steyn commended the many unsung heroes in communities around South Africa who protect the environment and make a difference in the quality of community life.
“Keeping South Africa clean from litter in peri-urban and nature preservation areas greatly depends on the actions of volunteers. Each one of this year’s winners made a tremendous difference in their respective areas.
“Awards were handed out to organisations and individuals around the country in recognition of their tireless effort to create awareness of the plight of many of our waterways and oceans that are being affected by litter originating inland, and to help protect the natural environment,” he said.
The recipients of the 2022 Caroline Reid Awards are:
- Durban Clean Corridors provides solutions and support for cleaning of natural environments, ensuring that waste is recycled, repurposed or removed and that communities within these areas are significantly involved. Siphiwe Rakgabale is the coordinator of these clean-ups and is also the litter booms coordinator of the Umgeni and Uhlanga litterbooms. He ensures that waste collected from these litterbooms is removed and sorted for recycling.
- Safripol has been a long-standing supporter of Plastics SA’s annual Clean-up and Recycle SA Week and is also a signatory of Operation Clean Sweep. They sponsor the Durban Green Corridor Clean-ups and litterbooms on the Umgeni River and also actively promote recycling and education in order to keep litter out of the environment.
- Sulandi van den Heever is described as a true West Coaster who has taken it upon herself to coordinate the clean-ups in the Lambert’s Bay area for the last decade.
- The Glencairn Education & Environmental Support Enthusiasts (GEESE), headed up by Cilla Bromley, has been organising clean-ups in the Glencairn and Simon’s Town areas for more than a decade.
- The Izame Zabantu Nature Helpers are dedicated to removing the pollution that flows via the Black River, into the canals in Paarden Island in Cape Town. This small, but dedicated group of eco-warriors have already filled tens of thousands of bags with waste they have removed.
- The Birdwatching fraternity is a dedicated group of supporters of clean-up events and projects in the Overberg under the auspices of Dr. Anton Odendal. They have successfully tackled sensitive clean-up actions along their local coast.
- The Lower Breede River Conservation Trust is based in Witsand and has been very proactive in keeping one of the largest rivers in the Western Cape managed and cleaned through monthly clean-ups. They were also very involved with clean-ups of the last pellet spill that ended up on our beaches.
- CityZen and Najen Naidoo have been helping communities of Rivonia, Gallo Manor, Morningside, Bryanston, Kramerville, Wendywood and Woodmead to fight neighbourhood deterioration by creating greener, clean and safe areas, one clean-up at a time. They turn the collected waste into sustainable job opportunities through recycling and upcycling programmes.
- Clean City SA conducts clean-up campaigns in Hillbrow every Saturday morning. Headed up by Dalu Cele, the team keeps the streets and open spaces clean and has already collected over 6 000 refuse bags.
- Eco Care Trust gathers valuable information on the aquatic state of our country’s freshwater eco-systems. Bernard Venter, a keen angler and supporter of Plastics SA’s Clean-up and Recycle Clean-ups, distributes litterbags to visitors at dams, rivers and angling competitions to educate people on the effects of litter on the waterways.
- The Soulbent Project, under the leadership of Luka Mashudu Makhado, is very aware of the negative impacts illegal dumping has on the environment. This intrepid team is dedicated to cleaning Gauteng – one illegal dumpsite at a time.
“We would like to thank Plastics SA for this recognition as we continue to carry on the legacy of Caroline Reid. The work we do is very much in collaboration with a number of partner organisation”, said Green Corridors’ Coastal and Waste Management Projects officer Musawenkosi Shange.
Green Corridors’ litter boom co-ordinator Siphiwe Rakgabale agreed, adding: “We hope that our efforts to restore and clean riverways will helps to create improved natural spaces for people to connect with nature and the planet and improve their quality of life.”