Written by Athenkosi Qwelana
On the 21st of September 2019 the international coastal clean-up will take place. The global campaign began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline. Scouts all over the country will once again be partaking.
For many years SCOUTS South Africa’s members have been clearing their coastlines, communities and schools from trash. In fact, earlier this year the Western Cape Scouting-In-Schools team partnered with Hayley McLellan, the Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Campaigner, to coordinate and clean Monwabisi beach.
I had met Hayley a few years back and so was pleasantly surprised when SiS coordinator Ahmad Solomon asked me to coordinate the participation of some of our schools in Khayelitsha and surrounding areas. It is not always easy for schools to participate in beach clean–ups because some schools are quite far from each other. However, thanks to the amazing SIS interns who presented this social gathering to their Scouts at schools, they were keen to be part of this service. They saw it as part of their duty in accordance with their Scout Promise and Laws. Our SIS interns are unemployed youth that receive the SCOUTS South Africa leadership training and run the Groups in schools in disadvantages communities for a year.
Five neighbouring SIS schools attended the beach cleanup in their community. Ntwasahlobo, Injongo (primary), Bulumko, Thembelihle and Kwamfundo (High) were on the beach that day with a total of 40 learners. There were six SIS Interns there to help the learners, namely Sibulele Fawuli, Yamkela Mdletye, Khanyisa Jevu, Nosicelo Planga Azukisiwe Zicina and Athenkosi Qwelana.
We collected lots of waste that day, including plastic, cigarette buds, etc. In just two hours we collected over 15 full plastics bags! We all knew that we could do more if we practiced this more frequently. On the 21st of September 2019 we will be partnering again with the Two Oceans Aquarium and assist in clearing Monwabisi beach.
There is no more time to ask what others can do for us. It is time to question ourselves about what we are doing to make a difference in our communities. By starting to ask these questions we move to a point where we become responsible citizens. As a result we can be mindful of the waste we produce – be it at home, school or in the community – and how we can dispose of it properly. Now that we know how waste can be harmful to us as humans and to the environment, plants, animals and oceans, we must take care before it gets more out of hand.
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