Beaches and rivers around Africa given spring clean in mass campaign

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) is leading extensive beach and river cleanups across the African continent this month as part of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative to remove plastic waste from the environment and raise awareness of the need to recycle.

Teams of volunteers supported by CCBA have rallied across South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia to collect plastic waste.

Every year, on the third Saturday of September, volunteers around the world take part in the world’s biggest coastal clean-up, International Coastal Cleanup Day.

“Food and beverage packaging is an important part of our modern lives, yet the world has a packaging problem, which we as CCBA, together with The Coca-Cola Company, have a responsibility to help solve,” said Tshidi Ramogase, CCBA Chief Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Officer.

“To encourage more people to recycle more often, we’re investing to help people understand what to recycle, how to recycle, and where to recycle. As part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, we are working with local communities and NGOs across Africa to highlight this critical issue.

“These clean ups help shift attitudes towards littering and recycling, encourage environmentally responsible waste-management habits and motivate communities across the continent to recycle,” Ramogase said.

In Namibia, Coastal Cleanup Day coincides with national cleanup day so the whole country is involved, as well as the Ministry for the Environment. CCBA will be doing cleanups over September in Windhoek, Otjiwarongo, Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay and Oshakati. In South Africa there are cleanups in Enseleni, Richards Bay, Durban, Gqeberha, East London and Port Shepstone.

In Ghana, CCBA subsidiary Voltic partnered with the University of Ghana Plastic Recycling Project and a recycling company to clean up Laboma Beach.

In Zambia, CCBA partnered with the Siavonga City Council to conduct a clean-up exercise at Lake Kariba. In Ethiopia, CCBA joined forces with a youth-led organisation called Green Rotaract Concept and cleaned up the Little Akaki River in Addis Ababa.

The team in Mozambique not only held a volunteer clean up, but also had an educational workshop with well-known environmentalist, Carlos Serra, to help increase awareness of the need to develop good recycling habits.

Ramogase added: “While increasing recycling rates and using more recycled content in packaging is key, it is equally important to dramatically increase the collection of post-consumer waste and prevent it from ending up in rivers and oceans.

“This requires a mass awareness campaign to shift consumer behaviour. We’re bringing people together through programmes like beach and river cleanups and other ongoing local activities.”

CCBA aims to help make the world’s packaging problem a thing of the past, working in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company which launched a sustainable packaging initiative called World Without Waste in 2018. CCBA aims to help collect a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, to make all its packaging recyclable and have 50% recycled content in its packaging by 2030, and make 25% of its packaging reusable by 2030.

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