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Dirty Kleinmond wetlands cleaned

Sixty volunteers picked up 38 bags totalling 95 kg of litter from Kleinmond’s wetlands and beach area on Saturday 1 February, as part of World Wetlands Day on 2 February.

Most of the items collected were cigarette butts (4 943), food wrappers (1 193), pieces of plastic (652) and chip packets. High volumes of polystyrene or foamalite food containers, both whole and fragmented, were part of the haul.

Tamzyn Zweig, Kleimond’s Environmental Officer, says people have to take responsibility for the preservation of the wetlands to ensure optimal functioning of vital ecosystems.

“It is really heartbreaking to see how much litter makes its way from our picnic areas, stormwater drains and canals into our rivers and straight into the ocean, scattering our coastline with waste.” She adds that residents and visitors alike must be aware of what they throw away and where they are doing it. We must really try harder to cut back on the amount of plastic we use and dispose of every day. Plastic never disappears, the pieces just get broken into smaller pieces of plastic that poison our wildlife and ultimately ourselves.”

According to Zweig, smokers should refrain from tossing cigarette butts on the ground or throwing cigarette butts into flower beds or planters. “Rather, use a portable cigarette butt holder available on the market or something as simple as an empty bottle or can with a bit of water to dispose of butts.” The number of cigarette butts collected during this World Wetlands Day clean-up, compared to the 2019 clean-up, is more than triple.

“We would like to thank every volunteer who assisted in the clean-up operation, especially the Dutch Reformed church eco-ministry and the Kleinmond Nature Conservation Society, which organised the clean-up of the Kleinmond wetlands.”

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