Tackling waste pollution

Polyoak’s “Earth Crew” at Little Princess Vlei for World Clean-up Day on September 17.

Doing their bit to raise awareness of the pollution crisis, a rigid plastic packaging manufacturer in Diep River, tackled the prolific waste polluting the Little Princess Vlei.

The Diep River Canal behind Polyoak Packaging is often strewn with uncollected garbage bags which, when not removed, flow straight into the Little Princess Vlei. If not stopped here, this waste continues downstream to further pollute the already overburdened Zandvlei.

Collecting this waste helps to reduce water pollution and maximise the value of recyclable items before they become too contaminated for recycling.

Rigid plastic packaging, such as the PET beverage and handled milk bottles made by Polyoak, can earn waste reclaimers as much as R8 per kilogram from a buy-back centre, so littering these items not only destroys the environment, but also livelihoods.

Said Karl Lambrecht, Polyoak Packaging’s managing director: “Many of Polyoak’s employees visit Little Princess Vlei and Zandvlei with their families to enjoy the outdoors and the birdlife. As part of the community, we are passionate about protecting the environments in which we operate. Although all the packaging we make is fully recyclable, this can only happen if items are disposed of responsibly, instead of becoming waste polluting the environment.”

Polyoak’s “Earth Crew” of 200 employees and family partnered with the City of Cape Town to remove over 800 kilogrammes of waste around Little Princess Vlei. From left are, Alan Caldwell, Polyoak regional director, Ward 72 councillor Kevin Southgate and Kyran Wright (back row, fourth from left) and his team from Zandvlei Nature Reserve.

Despite the recent rain, over 200 Polyoak employees and family united to achieve waste-free waterways on World Clean-up Day on September 17, joined by local Ward 72 Councillor, Kevin Southgate, City of Cape Town’s reserve manager for Zandvlei Nature Reserve, Kyran Wright and David Bristow, chairman of The Zandvlei Trust.

The army of waste-pickers were split into four groups to blitz the areas around the Diep River Canal, Mocke and Roscommon roads, and Little Princess Vlei.

Collectively, with the support of the City’s dedicated crew from the Zandvlei Nature Reserve, 94 bags filled with litter weighing 810 kilogrammes were removed. The waste included numerous small, light items such as cigarette butts, food wrappers and polystyrene take-away containers.

With the assistance of recycling service provider, Clean C, the litter was carefully sorted to recover 321 kilogrammes of recyclables before disposing appropriately.

Clean C’s recycling collection initiative called Kerby, offers a recycling collection service to unserviced communities. For more information, visit www.kerby.co.za

Residents are also welcomed to join fellow volunteers of The Zandvlei Trust, which hosts gardening and vlei clean-ups on the first and third Saturday of each month. For more information, log on to www.zandvleitrust.org.za/