Written by Mtha Nazo, SSA Youth Influencer
Today on World Humanitarian Day we want to reiterate what Scouts can achieve when they come together to help their communities and the world we live in #ItTakesAVillage #ClimateAction
In only 1,5 hours, the Cape Border District in the Eastern Cape South Scout Region collected 728kgs of rubbish which is over 200 black bags of litter! Scouts, Cubs and their families from the 1st Vincent, 1st Cambridge and 2nd Gonubie Scout Groups came together as a District in a joint effort with The Clothing Bank to do a litter clean-up in the Quigney area of East London. They received support from Elahleni Food & Braai and the Mazoyi Group,
On that Saturday the Scout Groups left the Quigney area a better place than they found it by taking care of the environment. I spoke to Sharon du Plessis, organiser of this remarkable initiative about what this means for both the community and the young Scouting members themselves.
SCOUTS SA: Tell us, how did the initiative start?
Sharon: I am involved with Scouts in East London and work at The Clothing Bank as a facilitator. As Scouts, we regularly do litter clean-ups around the city, usually as individual Groups. This time, we were doing it as the Cape Border District. The Clothing Bank (TCB) has themes that they encourage everyone to embrace. June and July’s theme was the ‘Environment’.
I have often thought as I drive to and from TCB that as a Scout Group we need to do a litter clean-up in the Quigney area. When it was announced at TCB that the theme for June/July was the Environment, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to do a joint effort between Scouts and TCB in Quigney to up-lift the area, even temporarily, with a litter clean-up. So, what started as an idea while driving to and from work grew into at least 4 different organisations/companies that joined together to make a difference in their city.
SCOUTS SA: 728 kgs of rubbish is a large quantity! Was that the goal you had in mind and how did the Groups accomplish this in such a short period of time?
Sharon: The initial idea was to spend some time cleaning up the litter in the Quigney. I always try to make our events and activities exciting for the Cubs and Scouts, so I wanted some way to make the event memorable and be able to measure our effort. Most recycling companies weigh the amount of recycled items they receive to quantify their efforts and costs. This seemed the best way for us to measure our impact on the area. I had no specific weight goal in mind, and probably thought we might collect around 300kg’s at the most. So, the total weight of 728kg’s was beyond all expectations. The fact that we had well over 100 people enthusiastically filling bags with rubbish and litter is how we accomplished our task.
SCOUTS SA: Why was it important to encourage Cubs and Scouts to look after the environment and to participate in this initiative?
Sharon: Everything in our environment is connected, and if one part is damaged, then it will affect all the other connected parts of the environment. Litter is a huge problem wherever we go. In 2020 we completed the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge as a Pack, and since then we have tried where possible to cut down on our use of plastic. We have also tried to do at least one litter clean-up a term when possible. The Cubs are also wanting to know when we’ll do the next clean-up, so this was a fantastic opportunity to put into practice all that they learnt doing the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge and the SDG’s that were part of the 2020 and 2021 National Cub Challenge.
SCOUTS SA: What did the Cubs enjoy the most about the day they picked up litter?
Shirja (7): That I helped the earth!
SCOUTS SA: What do the Cubs love most about being part of Scouts?
Luke (7): Scouts help the world!