Zandvlei Trust

Earth and River day report back (Extract article from the 1990 Winter Newsletter)

A Members of the public have recently expressed their concern at the proliferation of litter along the tributaries and shoeline of Zandvlei (Coastal Chatter October 1989, Cape Times 04/01/1990, Coastal Chatter April 1990, Cape Times 19/04/1990)
As one of its stated goals, the Trust aims to draw the attention of the relative authorities to these problems and to co - ordinate their efforts. We were unsuccessful in our efforts to arrandge for the regional Services Council to complete their dragline clearance of the waterweed, before the City Council cleared the lower reaches of the rivers, but are grateful to both organisations that they were able to commence activities prior to River Day. In order to get the public invovled , the Trust ran a series of articles in the Cape Times - False Bay Review, aimed at encouraging public participation.
We were disappointed at the response from locals living around Zandvlei, which all goes to show, how much harder the dedicated few need to work. We were pleasantly encouraged by contacts made with individuals in other areas including Coniston Park, Mitchells Plain, Wittebome and Wynberg.

Earth Day
Despite the torrential rain on Earth Day 22/04/1990, locals around the vlei did manage to collect enough litter to fill a 1 ton bakkie hired by the Trust. Teams operated near Marina da Gama (co - ordinated by Richard Borden), Marine Estate (Ellen Grove), Promenarde Road (Linda Gorman) and Watersedge (Lucy Brooker). All the litter was sorted into catagories of glass, plastic, paper, and tin, which in line with the spirit of Earth day was taken on the following Monday to Begvliet Primary School where it was enthusiastically unloaded by participants in their highly successful recycling programme. Lessons from this exercise were;

  • there are no local points for receipt of recycleable material,
  • Council and the Fairest Cape are unable to assist in the collection of material for recycling. It was essential that the Trust went to the expense of hiring a bakkie to return recycled material,
  • the limited return on recycled material ranging from 10cents /kg of timn and paper to 3 cents/kg of glass, made it non viable proposition to return the material to the processing plants in epping. Instead it was essential to link up with a fully operational programme such as Bergvliet Primary Recycling Project.

The torrent of water passing down the Sand Canal made it impossible for Coniston Park residents to clean out the Canal as planned. However, a useful contact was established in Mr Derek Muller, who together with Geoff Bailey and a member of the Cape Bird Club collected plastic debris which had passed through the litter trap and was entering the vlei at the Bird Sanctuary.

Such was the enthusiasm of the 1st Wynberg Troop from Wittebome, that they arranged to meet in Lakeside on the Sunday following Earth Day. The area between the Main Road and the Lakeside  Wetlands was swept, on what turned out to be another rainy day. The emphasis was on conservation Boy Scouts has changed since my day, when we spent most of our time trying to boil eggs in a brown paper bag and tying knots! 
The group took part in litter collection , emphasising the importance of recycling; removal of alien vegetation; identification of indigenous flora and birding. A similar exercise is to be repeated with 100 Scouts at the end of June.

All in all a successful exercise with the enthusiasm of youth more than making up for a certain amount of adult apathy.

Geoff Bailey


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