2019 ADReach Ocean Heroes Media Release

 No. OC1903

3 Sept 2019

Embargo: None

Written by; Dave Macleod

ADreach Ocean Heroes athletes join beach clean-up

Durban – As Durban gears up for the sixth edition of the ADreach Ocean Heroes on Sunday, the lifesavers teamed up with the ground-breaking clean-up team to remove litter from North Beach that will play host to the morning of surf and beach events.

The six-strong team of dedicated waste removers quickly targeted the large amount of plastic, polystyrene and other waste that littered the beach above the high water mark, and for their supervisor Sephiwe Rakgabale, this is the area that needs the most urgent attention.

“The city tends to clean the bigger rubbish off the beach near the water but at the back of the beach and in the dune vegetation the litters gets blown into an island.

“The biggest issues are the PET two litre cool drink bottles, chips packets, paper packets and the worst is the polystyrene take-away boxes,” said Rakgabale. “It breaks apart easily and blows away and when it breaks down in the sea the fish think it is food,” he said.

Rakgabale and his team removed between a hundred and a hundred and fifty bags of waste a day, and have so far been responsible for 2 600 bags of waste being removed from the lower uMngeni estuary, the mangroves and now the Durban beachfront.

“Along the river we are amazed by what we find - islands of waste with everything from shoes, caps, sunglasses to dead animals. It is terrible, but at least we can get it before it goes out into the ocean.”

The ADreach-backed team is passionate about their clean-up contribution and their responsibility to pass on their conservation message to the communities that live alongside the rivers.

The six strong team was joined on North Beach by four of the athletes that will be taking part in the three events on Sunday.

Defending champion Connor Botha said he wanted every Durbanite to play a part in addressing the pollution problem.

“It is really upsetting to see the amount of rubbish on the beach and in the ocean. We have people coming in from overseas for the International Surf Rescue Challenge at the end of the month and we don’t want them to see our beach and oceans so dirty,” he added.

Local lifesaving personality Mthembeni Mkhize was just as vociferous. “We caused this pollution and we are responsible for the harm that it causes to the marine animals,” he said. “So it is up to us to change our habits and make absolutely sure that our rubbish lands up in a bin.

“Then I would like every person that comes down to the beach or the promenade to play a part by collecting rubbish they see lying around and putting it in one of the many bins that the municipality has on the beachfront.”

Women’s title defending champion Alice Edward said she is aware of the worsening pollution problem every day.

“When I am out in the sea training and you see all the rubbish and plastic, it is not a good feeling at all. I try to load it up onto my craft when I am training but there is so much you can’t take it all.

“That’s why we need everyone to play a part in dealing with it,” she added.


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ADreach Ocean Heroes

ADreach Ocean Heroes

ADreach Ocean Heroes athletes (front, from left) Connor Botha, Mthembeni Mkhize, Sanele Nxumalo and Alice Edward join the ADreach beach cleanup team of (back, from left) Maxwell Ngema, Sephiwe Rakgabale, Emmanuel Dlomo, Teboho Kikine, Ikaneng Tshehlana and Siphelele Qhinga for a clean-up of North Beach where the sixth edition of ADreach Ocean heroes will take place on Sunday. Brian Spurr/
Gameplan Media

ADreach Ocean Heroes athletes (front, from left) Alice Edward and Mthembeni Mkhize (right) join the ADreach beach cleanup team of (from left) Siphelele Qhinga, Emmanuel Dlomo and Ikaneng Tshehlana for a clean-up of North Beach where the sixth edition of ADreach Ocean heroes will take place on Sunday. Brian Spurr/
Gameplan Media

ADreach Ocean Heroes athletes Conor Botha (second from right),and Sanele Nxumalo (right) help the ADreach beach cleanup team of (from left) Sephiwe Rakgabale and Teboho Kikine for a clean-up of North Beach where the sixth edition of ADreach Ocean heroes will take place on Sunday. Brian Spurr/
Gameplan Media

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