Students clean the Durban Harbour during the International Coastal Clean-Up initiative.

Africa Unites in International Coastal Clean-Up

South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya recently joined forces in an International Coastal Clean-Up initiative to keep Africa and its oceans clean.

Clean-ups were held at all four countries simultaneously, with a one-hour time difference separating South Africa and Kenya from Ghana and Nigeria.

UKZN’s PhD student in Marine Biology, lecturer and founder of the Refilwe Matlotlo Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on conserving marine life, Ms Refilwe Mofokeng explained, ‘This is an international event and as Africans, we decided to communicate this message by using one banner, going against the recent xenophobic attacks.’

Students from the Pietermaritzburg campus were handed gloves, masks, plastic bags and data sheets (to record their findings) as they set off to clean the Durban Harbour.

Member of the Community Development Association club and Geography student, Ms Nikki Nzama said, ‘As an environmentalist on an international coastal clean-up day, I feel like I’ve made a valid impact on the community.’

Environmental Earth Sciences student and Operation Songamanzi representative, Ms Zingisa Tuswa remarked, ‘We are doing a good thing today by saving marine species and helping to save water for the environment, which is what our organisation is all about.’

During low tide, students were taken on a boat ride to pick up litter on an island, where Mofokeng joined students in getting her hands dirty.