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Unique litter reduction campaign comes to Kouga

05 October 2023
Helping to roll out the OCS trial is Inga Buso (right), who chats to John Masiza Primary teacher, Tshitso Motumi, during one of the campaign’s recent interventions at the school.

Helping to roll out the OCS trial is Inga Buso (right), who chats to John Masiza Primary teacher, Tshitso Motumi, during one of the campaign’s recent interventions at the school.

JEFFREYS BAY – A unique litter reduction campaign is being piloted in Kouga.

Trials of Operation Clean Spot (OCS) – which is being run by African marine conservation non-profit Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) with the support of the Kouga Municipality – have kicked off in the Jeffreys Bay suburbs of Pellsrus and Noorsekloof.

Researchers involved in the pilot project – the trial for which is earmarked to run in Jeffreys Bay until year-end – are helping with environmental education campaigns at schools and communities, including Victory Christian School in Noorsekloof and Makukhanye in Pellsrus.

Household surveys are being undertaken to determine residents’ attitudes towards waste management. Additionally, residents are being educated about the importance of separating their recyclables – which have an economic value in the recycling sector and circular economy – out of their general household waste.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Hattingh Bornman, said, “This campaign aligns perfectly with Kouga Municipality’s Keep Kouga Clean narrative – which is one of seven narratives at the municipality.

“A clean Kouga is good for all of us. It makes for happier and healthier communities. It also attracts more visitors and potential investors, thus stimulating the economy and opening up job opportunities.

“It is hoped that the campaign will help ignite communities’ pride in Kouga and motivate young and old to play their part in keeping our beautiful region clean.”

Reducing litter

OCS aims to reduce land-based litter by up to 90% in some communities. With its mandate to support a blue economy by helping Africa’s oceans become litter-free, the Sustainable Seas Trust wants to use OCS to combat pollution in the environment before it reaches the sea.

“In addition to working towards SST’s long-term goal of ‘Zero Waste to the Seas of Africa’, this project aims to identify easy-to-implement project design principles within a proof-of-concept model that can be used in other South African and African contexts,” said Janine Osborne, SST CEO.

Once trialed, SST plans to distribute its OCS model throughout the continent using its African Marine Network and its partners.

Cheri Scholtz, CEO of South Africa’s longest-standing producer responsibility organisation, Petco, said collaborating on projects like Operation Clean Spot helped to unlock the supply of recyclable materials to drive South Africa’s circular economy. Petco has partnered with the OCS programme, sponsoring PPE and training for participating waste collectors.

“Recyclable materials have real value for everyone in the collection and recycling value chain - from the collectors who earn an income from selling these materials to the producers who ultimately use the recycled content in their products and packaging,” Scholtz said.

“Supporting Operation Clean Spot is one of the ways we are building capacity in the informal collection sector and helping to integrate it into the formal value chain.”

Osborne said, “About 80% of what is recycled in South Africa is collected by waste collectors. This makes waste collectors an integral and fundamental part of our broader African recycling economy that should not only be recognised but celebrated.

“OCS not only helps reduce waste-to-landfill and litter in the environment, it can also support waste collectors by assisting to unlock the value of recyclable materials and create much-needed income opportunities.”

More information

Individuals or businesses can get involved with the OCS adopt-a-spot campaign by registering their clean-up area on the SST website at this address: sst.org.za/operation-clean-spot.

How the OCS trial is unfolding

  • At a municipal level, SST is offering waste minimisation support and guidance to local authorities, based on its scientific research in the sector and its Africa-wide partner network.
  • At schools, OCS is educating pupils on how to identify and separate recyclable waste generated in their households from general waste headed for landfills – termed “separation at source”. This empowers pupils to become “recycling champions” in their households, motivating their parents or caregivers to join in.
  • Neighbourhood programmes, meanwhile, involve educating households about the importance of often-maligned and misunderstood waste collectors. This is being achieved through a combination of neighbourhood education drives, workshops, and by sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing for the waste collectors so they can be easily identified by households.
  • On a broader scale, using its website and social media channels, OCS is galvanising individuals and businesses to “adopt-a-spot” in their respective communities which they commit to keeping clean on a consistent basis, logging the clean-ups of their spots – and the amount of litter collected – on the OCS website to measure progress for the public to see.