Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thomson has encouraged the plastics, metals and glass industries to continue with their voluntary efforts to increase recycling.
“Furthermore, we need to encourage all South Africans to become concerned about recycling and make the effort to buy material produced from recycled material,” said Deputy Minister Thomson.
She was speaking on Saturday at the International Coastal Clean-Up project in East London.
The clean-up activity forms part of the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day which was initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986 and has grown with more than 100 countries participating in cleaning up their coastal areas.
“The significance of the International Coastal Clean-up campaign is that it not only promotes awareness of the litter problem, but also draws our attention to the need for better waste management on land,” Deputy Minister Thomson said.
About 1000 volunteers collected around 1395 cigarette butts, 718 plastic bags, 1004 bottle caps, 588 food wrappers and 564 plastic beverage bottles in just one hour.
The beach clean-up covered about 2.5km of the Eastern Beach and this year the clean-up was not only focused on one beach location but on several areas, some of which are further away from the coast.
The areas included the surrounds of the Orient Theatre, Quigney, and Ebuhlanti.
“The International Coastal Clean-up Day once again reminds us of the importance of our beautiful and valuable coastal and marine environment, and the need to take care of it,” she said.
South Africa has been participating in the ICCD event for 19 years and information on the litter and debris removed from the beaches has being forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy to form part of the global beach litter database, Ocean Trash Index, annually.
The information assists in finding solutions on litter management from land-based sources as well as from offshore sources.
Last year at the coastal clean-up event in Kwazulu-Natal, 1400 volunteers picked up 1 877kg (almost 1.9 tons) of waste in just one hour.