Award-Winning Local Documentary Highlights Importance of Waste-Pickers in South Africa
The scourge of ocean plastic begins in the cities, flowing down rivers and lakes ending up in the ocean. South Africa has a unique band of heroes who are making a massive sustainable impact in addressing this problem. Diminishment of biodiversity in our Ocean is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity. And with the diminishment of species in the oceans comes, diminishment of the quality of life for humanity.
This short documentary follows Solomon’s journey to Joburg to meet Thabo Mouti and Mokete Mokete, who indirectly serve the environment through recycling as a means of income. Thabo and Mokete are “street surfers”, a familiar sight for drivers in and around the city’s streets. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chruu9QnepI )
South Africa is ranked as one of the top 20* worst polluters of plastics in the oceans, globally. It is said that every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the South African oceans. Environmental groups say if nothing changes by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by weight.
Frank Solomon comments, “One of the big problems is public awareness”. He continues, “People are often overwhelmed by the problem but if every one of us takes responsibility, by even picking up one piece of litter a day, every day, just think about the difference it would make. Our aim is to explore the issues and fight for change”.
There are an estimated 100,000** waste-pickers in South Africa who face many challenges working in the informal waste economy: they are prevented from access to landfills in some municipalities, stigmatised and exposed to unhealthy working conditions and vulnerable to volatile price changes on the scrap market. Yet informal waste pickers recycle 90% of the recyclables collected from households in South Africa; saving municipalities millions of Rands in landfill space every year.
Sifiso Pule, Corona Zone Marketing Manager, comments, “With the Street Surfers film, we’re bringing awareness to these unsung heroes who forage the rubbish in our suburbs and cities sorting it into recyclable bundles of glass, plastic and paper. Whilst they are doing this primarily for their livelihood, the effect of their efforts have resulted in South Africa ranked as one of the best performing countries when it comes to recycling. We produced the film to tell the nation and the world about these heroes and to remind everyone that we all have a part to play in protecting our paradise. It is a collective effort.”
Locally, there have been a few significant projects that Corona has implemented in partnership with Parley for the Oceans. In November 2018 Frank Solomon conducted a coast to coast beach clean-up in 2018, highlighting the epidemic and its effects on marine life. This project highlighted how each and every individual has a responsibility to avoid the use of plastic wherever possible and can support initiatives that intercept plastic waste.
Earlier this year Corona continued its efforts through the #ProtectParadise initiative, in partnership with Parley and World Surf League. The #ProtectParadise mission aims to engage audiences globally on a clean-up network that is present in over 23 countries and has resulted in 537 clean-ups, 25,000 volunteers and more than 3-million square meters of beaches cleaned to date.
Pule concludes, “Corona’s Better World platform has seen partnerships with Parley for the Oceans and other like-minded organisations to organise clean-ups along coastlines all over the world. Together, we are committed to implementing strategies that address this global problem aimed at ending marine plastic pollution.”