Beaches were flooded with people during December. Which meant a lot of good, and also a lot of waste. Nipping ‘waste is okay’ mindsets in the bud, was a Waste Awareness Programme that travelled from Muizenberg to Camps Bay beaches:
Cape Town, South Africa (16 January 2024) — If you ventured to Cape Town’s beaches this December, you got to experience firsthand what being in a can of sardines must feel like. More people means a lot of good things. Tourism boosts, appreciation for parts of our country, new friendships and all the other awesome things that make exploring worthwhile. But, it can also mean more waste. More work for the volunteers who work tirelessly to keep our beaches pristine, and more headaches for the marine life who have to deal with many visitors in their home. Waste Awareness is, unfortunately, not on everyone’s radar.
But combatting this with some effort and education for youngsters can make a big difference. Which is why this past December, a Waste Awareness Programme was made a priority for Cape Town’s future.
Under the theme ‘The Ocean is Home’, the City of Cape Town’s Waste Awareness Programme merged activities with educational underpinnings.
Bingo, the anti-litter mascot, was present as Camps Bay, St James, Muizenberg, Lagoon Beach, Big Bay, Blouberg, Strand and Hout Bay Harbour all became open-air classrooms.
While these efforts are fantastic for the beach-going adults of tomorrow, it’s also up to the adults of today to take notes on what their children are learning.
Waste Awareness Programmes Matter for an abundance of reasons. But, here are three quick ones that might encourage any litter bugs to educate themselves further:
1. Litter Makes an Area Bitter
No one wants to relax alongside a family of chip packets. When you leave your waste behind, think of it as your contribution to an area’s decline and an ecosystem’s decline. Waste Awareness ingrains in audiences the very simple sense of ‘this isn’t how I’d leave another’s home’.
2. What You Leave Behind, Another Takes
Unfortunately, that someone else who might take what you leave behind could be a marine animal. And for them, it’s not a quick trip to the trash can but a harmful encounter that could trap them or become a snack gone wrong. Waste Awareness matters here because it brings what should be an obvious responsibility into the mix.
3. When You Know More, You Do More
For many, becoming more aware of something they might not have had a wake-up call to before can mean they’ll do more. One environmentally aware person might teach someone else. Clear waste when they see it. And so the starfish analogy goes, and our beaches stand a better chance.
Sources: GTG; COCT
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