Styrofoam Corner – Hidden Effects of Pollutants

Muizenberg Litter

Regular beach clean-ups, through community and stakeholder collaboration, has emphasized the impact of pollutants on the environment.  This collaboration has since allowed for redirection of valuable resources to aid in the management of the natural environment that surrounds the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) area.

One such area where resources have been redirected to is “Styrofoam Corner”, the rocky beach area at Surfers’ Corner.  The Grey Environmental Warriors (community volunteers), in collaboration with Zahraa Institute and the Vineyard Hotel, have to date, filled and removed 160 bags of Styrofoam from this rocky coastal stretch. This area however still remains one of the most consistent polluted areas on the beachfront.

The success of efficient beach clean-up campaigns, education and awareness has also resulted in similar initiatives in Pelican Heights with collaboration planned for Mfuleni and Capricorn.  Sharing the framework and identifying the structural partners within the City and the community who can aid in responsible environmental management with the community taking the lead.

This highlights the impact of successful cleansing management of public spaces through planning, support and collaborations with the City Solid Waste Department, Parks and Recreation, EPWPs and community NPO’s.

The reality is that litter often finds its way to the coastline, and into the ocean, via storm water run-offs which has become the dumping ground for residential waste ranging from plastics, to tyres to human excrement. What started out as a regular MID supported community beach clean-up almost four years ago, has since morphed into a management space that has enabled education and awareness outside of the MID area.

Focus has now shifted to include the Zandvlei and Sunrise Circle area, with ad-hoc support of waste management in Canalised Rivers; the management of in-line litter traps.  There is an ongoing need to keep creating awareness and educating communities about the impact litter and irregular waste management has on the eco-systems that connects the vleis on the Cape Flats to the coastline from False Bay to Table Bay.

At the coal face of it all, Kevin Rack, Grey Environmental Warrior and former MID Director, remarks that:

Micro-plastics is a word we are now very familiar with and is part of our lives and food. These small tough plastics are broken down bottles, micro-beads, cigarette buts and micro fibres from synthetic materials like clothes. They become so small they are able to pass from the outside environment, in our food like sea food, into our bodies and eventually into our blood. They can be found in our bottled water and even in the air. Think about it, all the shoes you have ever worn, all the soles have worn off, all the car tyres that have worn down, where is it, where has it gone?

As collaboration towards a common purpose and partnership grows, so too does the impact on the environmental issues. Without the environment there is no business and in a healthy environment human beings flourish. It was through the foresight of the MID, strategic planning and partnerships that we have affected great change. We now hope to grow these partnerships and facilitate and share successes with others.”

Kevin Rack continues to work tirelessly in service to the environment and the community.  A current board member of the Muizenberg Lakeside Residents Association, he invites community members who wish to employ a similar approach to environmental care and management, to contact him directly on 0609045988 to learn more about how best to implement within their respective areas.


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with public safety, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.

Enquiries:  manager@mid.org.za

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