Updated: Sep 20, 2019
15 September was World Cleanup Day and Team Mahali joined the action by organising a beach clean at Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.
Sustainability means so much today. For us teams competing in Solar Decathlon Africa, it's all about solar energy and green building design. But beyond the competition, there is so much more we can do to contribute to making the world a more sustainable place, or in other words, to find ways of treading lighter on our beautiful planet. Mahali believes that Solar Decathlon Africa is a wonderful platform from which to promote the many different ways in which all of us can live more sustainable lives.
Perhaps one of the most pressing issues right now is ocean plastics. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, by 2050, by weight, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We are consuming single-use plastics at an astounding rate. Plastic Ocean reports that we discard 100 trillion plastic bags and 500 billion plastic bottles a year. Almost all of this reaches our oceans.
Mahali wanted to do our bit to join the seemingly endless fight against ocean plastics, so we organised a beach clean as part of World Cleanup Day on 15 September. We headed to one of Cape Town's most iconic beaches, Camps Bay.
Initially we thought we'd struggle to find waste, as this beach is routinely cleaned by the municipality. But as we started looking more closely, we were confronted by the ocean's biggest enemy: micro plastics. We dug up straws, bottle caps, ear buds and splintered pieces of packaging on the grassy banks and in between washed up seaweeds. It didn't take up long to fill our bags.
We were pleasantly surprised when we bumped into a another cleaning team by complete coincidence. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), had their own team also cleaning Camps Bay Beach, so we joined forces and shared bags to get the beach as spotless as we could.
We're proud of our team for volunteering their time and petrol on a Saturday morning, in between studies and the Solar Decathlon, to join our beach clean. Sign up for our newsletter to see what other sustainability initiatives we get up to leading up to Morocco 2019.