A total of 562 bags of litter were collected during a clean-up campaign at Masiphumelele wetlands last Thursday, September 22.
The clean-up was a joint operation by the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) in partnership with the Take Back Our Mountains (TBOM), Blue Ribbon, Pick n Pay, and Clorox Africa.
According to a statement issued by TMNP, the purpose of the clean-up was to encourage the community members to keep the wetland clean and free from litter by restoring it to its natural habitat.
The wetlands are extremely important habitats of rich biodiversity, and they have an important role to play in the lives of humans and animals. Without suitable wetland habitats, many species could soon be homeless, the statement read.
TMNP Socio-Economic Transformation(SET) officer Luyanda Lombo said this partnership was meant to create awareness about the devastating effect of illegal dumping on wetlands or in the park.
Illegal dumping remains a problem in South Africa and in many parts of the world, he said, and encouraged the community members to preserve this wetland as it plays an important role in Table Mountain National Park.
He said they were grateful for the support they received from their partners including Chrysalis Academy, City of Cape Town and Pinelands High School.
SANParks conducted an environmental education talk on the day to highlight the importance of conserving wetlands, which provide food and shelter for many animals, including birds and amphibians, the statement said.
According to Take Back Our Mountain’s Taahir Osman, initiatives will also be ongoing in other parts of the park in addition to this one.
Brand engagement coordinator at Blue Ribbon, Alistair Laguma, reiterated the importance of community upliftment as one of their main goals, and Thuli Nhlapo, finance director at Clorox Africa encouraged the community members to understand the importance of cleanliness, including their surroundings, and said that one cannot dream in a dirty environment.
Masiphumelele community leader Themba Sontundu vowed to look after the wetland including his community members. He said in the same way they keep their homes clean, they all have a collective responsibility to keep the environment clean.