Help clean your hood and make a difference

The weekly WastePlan collection of recyclable materials at a complex in Somerset West.

A Plumstead man has started a clean-up and recycling initiative in his neighbourhood.

Clinton Forlee, 45, says that as a father of two he feels an obligation to care for the environment.

He started the “I Love My Hood Plumstead” group in March after noticing a growing amount of litter while going for his daily runs.

He remembers anti-littering messages being drilled into him as a child growing up in the 1980s – those were the years of Zibi, the litter-busting ostrich and the “zap it in the Zibi can” catchphrase.

“I think that we were educated more on the dangers of littering in the 80s. We were told why we shouldn’t litter. When you look now, 30 to 40 years down the line, there are signs that say littering is illegal, but there’s not enough information on why people should not litter,” says Clinton.

“We aren’t teaching people enough about the environment. Even with all this technology, we aren’t informing people about what damage this could do.”

The I Love My Hood Plumstead group comprises residents from the neighbourhood and surrounds who meet once a month to clean up litter.

The monthly walks see about 10 people attending, and the group has developed a presence on social media, with over 180 followers since its inception in March.

Clinton hopes to see more young people joining the walks. At the moment, most of those taking part are in their 30s and 40s.

“We want to spread awareness and appeal to the youth more. We’ll start with the younger children first, the ones that are in primary schools because they are less concerned about how cool or uncool it looks walking around picking up litter.

“Then we’ll go into attracting the teenagers. They are the ones who will be going into the working world soon, who will be business owners and who will raise children themselves. They also have a responsibility to the environment.”

I Love My Hood also promotes recycling.

“By recycling, we contribute towards decreasing the number of people who are cut by glass and metal when they go through waste at landfills. We also decrease the waste that will probably end up in our oceans and make it reusable,” says Clinton.

He says he wants to be a good role model for his children, aged 3 and 5, because they are growing up in a world where climate change poses an ever-greater threat. He believes his efforts are already paying off.

“They know that after they’ve eaten their yoghurt, they need to put it in a (recycle) bin. They can also identify the difference between the recycling bin and the normal one.”

For more information on the next walk, follow I Love My Hood – Plumstead on Facebook.