river litter

Barry Walker and Shaun Callaghan have come up with an innovative way to stop river litter from getting to the ocean by using recycled bottles


Innovation is everywhere so it is no surprise that two South Africans have come up with a pretty clever solution to river litter. Barry Walker and Shaun Callaghan are tackling a problem by using recycled materials.

Barry has been working around Amanzimtoti for some time now to make sure the area is clean and litter free. Earlier in the year, he took on the task of cleaning up the Ilanda Wilds near the Zulu King Sharka monument. He and his fellows from the Amanzimtoti Sports Centre and the Amanzimtoti Cycling Club worked on restoring the area, repainting signs and general clean-up.

We had a chance to catch up with Barry and he confirmed that cleaning up the surrounding areas is a big passion of his. As a mountain biker and chairman of the Cycling club, the cause is one close to his heart. He sees the amount of litter scattered around the parks and trails, so working to combat it is his form of civic duty.

Now he and Shaun are working to combat the amount of litter that enters the ocean via the rivers. They came up with a concept to use 2-litre bottles as a barrier to catch litter.

They strapped 4 2-litre bottles together, made a chain and then wrapped them in green shade cloth. This creates a small barrier that easily floats above the water line, stopping any floating litter from flowing downstream. The first boom was placed in the Amanzimtoti River near the taxi rank due to large amounts of litter entering the river there.

“When we were on-site at the river, constructing the boom, a homeless man told us we shouldn’t use sinkers to weigh down the shade cloth, as they will be stolen. We decided to rather place opened plastic two litre bottles on the ends, as they will fill with water and weigh down the shadecloth,” – Shaun Callaghan

The guys have identified 3 more spots within the area that these booms could be effective and have asked locals to help them collect bottles and shade cloth to build more booms. The collected bottles can be dropped off at Produce Direct along Main Road in Dooneside.

They plan to focus on a few more clean-ups but hope that the municipality will focus on keeping the area clean as it is their responsibility. We love when everyday citizens take up causes like this and work to better their neighbourhoods. Doing it for free, using their own time and resources, and working to better the space for everyone gives us real GEES!

Shaun filmed a video of the litter boom which you can watch below.

Sources: Facebook / GTG Interview / South Coast Sun
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens.
Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll hopefully leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.


  1. Hi, Great idea! How do you strap the bottles together? I assume that the “bungles” of bottles are separate to allow for flexibility?

  2. Fill the bottles with other waste that can be recycled like plastic I do it with all two litre bottles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *