On September 16, 2023, in celebration of International Coastal Clean-up and World Clean-up Day (ICCD), the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) partnered with the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), the Nelson Mandela Bay, and various non-governmental organisations to undertake a leaners led clean-up effort at St. Georgies Strand Beach.
This initiative is aimed at addressing the growing concerns surrounding environmental management, particularly waste management, with a specific focus on educating the public and various stakeholders to influence behaviour change.
In addition to governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, students from Motherwell High, Coselelani, and Mfesane schools actively participated in the clean-up activities. These students received valuable lessons on environmental stewardship, with a specific emphasis on responsible waste management. They also engaged in the actual coastal clean-up activities, with the school that collected the most waste or litter receiving gardening tools from DFFE
During the clean-up programme, Cynthia Nong who is DEDEAT’s Chief Director addressed the students, emphasizing the critical importance of preserving our natural spaces.
Nong highlighted that maintaining clean oceans is not only vital for the environment but also crucial for economic growth. Clean beaches play a significant role in sustaining ocean species and attracting tourists who, in turn, contribute to the local economy, said Mrs Nong.
DEDEAT, as a key stakeholder, holds the mandate for waste management and contributes to the development of related legislation. The department conducts annual waste management awareness campaigns throughout the six regions and a clean-up campaign to promote responsible environmental practices.
The ICCD is a global initiative that unites volunteers worldwide in the largest environmental data-gathering and coastal clean-up event. This year, South Africa has designated the second week of September as Recycle Week and National Clean-up Day. Activities started from Monday to Saturday, focusing on neighbourhoods, water sources and beaches across the country.
This collective effort aims to raise awareness and encourage active participation in environmental conservation.
The collaboration between government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and enthusiastic students in cleaning up St. Georgies Strand Beach exemplifies the commitment to preserving the environment and fostering sustainable economic growth in the Eastern Cape.