A wire whale named Kakapo is being used to collect plastics and rubbish from the shores of Noordhoek Beach.
Kakapo is managed by Project Noordhoek, an NPO dedicated to keeping Noordhoek safe and clean and providing jobs.
The whale will be emptied by the workers employed by the project.
The wire whale was paid for from Project Noordhoek’s coffers, according to Karoline Hanks, an environmentalist and a member of the organisation.
The whale was made by Simon’s Town artist Innocent Kasanhayi. He said the project was a great initiative and he was thrilled that his artwork was being used in a good way to care for the environment.
The whale was first installed at the beach on Monday November 4, and within the first week five black bags of recycling were collected to fill her.
Kakapo was then moved closer to the boardwalk at the Noordhoek Beach car park – she was officially installed there on Friday December 13, and on the day, gifts were presented to the men who belong to Project Noordhoek.
They keep the area and the toilets clean and they will empty Kakapo when her belly fills up.
Ms Hanks said people would find recycled re-usable bags in a box next to Kakapo. They could take the bags down to the beach to collect rubbish, which they could empty into the whale’s belly when they returned.
The bags could then be placed back into the box for the next walkers to use.
Penny van Zyl, who has lived in Noordhoek for more than 60 years, handed out hampers to the workers on behalf of the Noordhoek community.
Ms Van Zyl had filled each hamper with clothes, toiletry bags filled with goods, a peak cap, sweet treats and a voucher.
Edgar Phiri said he appreciated the project and all it gave him. He thanked the Noordhoek community for their generosity.
Paul Nkhata said he appreciated working on the project and helping to keep the surrounding area clean.
He said everyone was grateful for the public toilet on the beach and it was nice to know their work was appreciated. He thanked all who had supported them and contributed to their hampers.
“Uniforms, shoes, money to help our families – may God bless you all,” he said.
Ephriam Marmen said: “I was a bit down and out when I came in and when Karoline first took over the project I was scared I would not be seen, but it’s been the complete opposite. I want to thank all the people like Karoline who fight undercover for us. We had nothing, but now you guys are restoring our pride and dignity. We are so grateful for this gift, sometimes we think no one appreciates what we do but now we know you do.”