uMhlanga UIP commemorates #WorldOceansDay with litter boom launch

Cara Reilly of the Umhlanga UIP and Douw Steyn, director of sustainability at Plastics SA.

MORE than 35 000 bags of rubbish had been collected in uMhlanga between January and May of this year by the Umhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP) – most of which had washed up on the beaches.

The shocking amount of collected waste had mobilized several organisations in an effort to reduce ocean pollution in the area, and as a result a litter boom had been installed across the Ohlanga River in May.

In commemoration of World Oceans Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 June, the boom was officially launched. It is visible from the M4 highway and designed to work with river currents and prevailing winds to intercept floating litter which primarily emanates from the

N2 and the M4 freeway stormwater runoff and areas upstream, said Umhlanga UIP spokesman, Cara Reilly.

ALSO READ: Litter booms halts massive rubbish deluge

“The aim is to ensure that less litter is strewn on our beaches and to concentrate our clean-up efforts,” she added.

The waste collected from the boom will be recycled were possible and the rest sent to a landfill site.

The boom had been made possible by input from several organisations, including the UIP, Plastics SA, Durban Green Corridor (DGC), Upper Umhlanga Security Trust, Durban Against Plastic Pollution (DAPP), DPI Plastics, uMhlanga Manors, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Park to Park and Aqua Amazing.

“Litter always covers our beaches after the rains and we had been looking at possible solutions to intercept some of it at the beach stormwater outfalls. Then we came across an article about litter booms that were successfully deployed on the Umheni and Seekoeispruit River systems. We made contact and an immediate partnership was established,” said Andrew Fraser, chairman of the UUST.

ALSO WATCH: Litter booms lead the fight against pollution

According to Douw Steyn, director of sustainability at Plastics SA, the litter boom is an effective tool to combat litter.

“Statistics show that a lot of plastic comes from upstream as rivers are commonly used as dumping ground,” he said.

On average, approximately 300 bags per month are removed from the booms already in place along the lower Umngeni River and feeder streams, said Steve Cohen, the founder of DAPP and an advisor to DGC.

“After a rain event of approximately 20 milimetres, one boom has been able to harvest 1 000 rubbish bags full of litter, mostly plastic bottles and other household packaging products,” he added.

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  AUTHOR
Mariclair Smit
Journalist

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