11 March, 2019 11 March, 2019

The Umgeni Drops Its Guts

It’s a well-known fact that rivers form a superhighway for trash, ushering an obscene amount of plastic straight into our world’s oceans. Case and point being the Umgeni river, the most polluted river system in the country, which in the aftermath of heavy rains on the weekend was mainlining synthetic throwaways and leave-behinds straight out to sea. This was until large swells regurgitated the immortal petrochemical derivatives back on to km’s worth of beach.

Perhaps nature was throwing a subtle hint our government’s way following an environmentally historic vote, which saw the European Parliament banning single-use plastic products across Europe. This ban outlaws plastic bags, straws, plates, cups, drink stirrers and cotton swabs. So for those who struggle with geography… that’s an entire continent. This will no doubt help reduce the 80 million tons of plastic that end up in the ocean each year, that’s a rate of a dump truck every minute. 

Featured Image: Sifiso Mngoma, in-house photographer for the Durban Green Corridor 

Footage Supplied by the Litter Boom Project 

Along the Umgeni, litter booms have been anchored across the river, acting as an aggregating device, catching all surface level plastics -predominantly HDPE and PET. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of floating rubbish that was brought down with the weekend rain the systems burst, releasing tons of plastic waste into the coastal environment!

This serves as a sobering reminder that pollution on such a grand scale needs intervention in order to address major structural issues such as municipal waste management failure, inadequate economic incentives to keep post-consumer plastic in the economy and the single-use consumer mindsets shaped by corporate marketers.

The Litter Boom Project and the Durban Green Corridor are two environmental organisations working together to tackle the issues brought about from plastic entering our waterways. They regularly organise cleanups and invite the public (who hardly honour the invitation) to join in and help lend a hand along with their employees and business associates. 

Over the next three days, both the for mentioned organisations (above paragraph) will be hosting beach cleanups at the Umgeni river mouth. So if your looking to cath up on karma points this 2019, here’s your chance.  


Footage capture by Hanno Langenhoven

The flooding could not come at a more appropriate time, as far as the internet is concerned. Here we are referring to the powerhouse that is social media. A new ‘challenge’ is doing the rounds, one that actually achieves something. You’re not gonna be asked to eat washing powder or floss, but rather make sharp and clean up!

The challenge is to find a space of land that is cluttered by litter, take a photo standing in front of the mess and then spend as much time as it takes to clear and clean up the area. Once you have finished, stand in front of the space with all the bags of rubbish you have collected and smile with pride.

Here are 10 simple things you can do today, tomorrow and forever to help combat plastic pollution!

1) Fix your caffeine fix
2) Bring your own bottle
3) Say no to plastic cutlery
4) Straws suck
5) Ditch the cling wrap
6) Say bye to teabags, hello to loose leaf tea
7) Give up gum
8) Glitter, the one member of the party that never leaves!
9) Bring back the milkman
10) Become a wine bottle sommelier


  1. Kate Hitge
    11 March, 2019 at 8:19 pm · Reply

    Has our government made any steps towards rewarding recycling of plastic? Initiatives such as in Australia where you can buy public transport tickets with plastic bottles? Is this something we should lobby towards?

  2. Bob
    11 March, 2019 at 10:37 pm · Reply

    You cant fight the government cos its elected by ninkumpoops

  3. Jenni Kelly
    12 March, 2019 at 12:19 pm · Reply

    Large supermarket chains such as Woolworths need to take the lead and stop wrapping all their food in plastic .
    I have wriitten many letters to them and the standard reply is we working on it!
    However 2years down the line and still no change !

  4. Minette
    12 March, 2019 at 1:11 pm · Reply

    Plastic manufacturers must be legislated into complying with environmental compliance.

    We can’t use what’s not produced

  5. Anja
    12 March, 2019 at 1:48 pm · Reply

    Maybe also introduce a deposite for empty plastic bottles, just like in the Netherlands.

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