October is the national marine month. This important occasion is celebrated by raising awareness of the dangers that threaten the marine ecosystem and encourage the public to take part in the protection and conservation of this ecosystem. For the MUT Waste Management Ambassadors (WMA), this has meant partnering with industry and other key role players to reduce ocean pollution.
This year, the WMA partnered with Pick n Pay People and Planet Division, KZN Beach Cleanup Association, Durban Solid Waste and Isphepho Enviro Ambassadors to clean the Durban beach and raise awareness on marine pollution.
Londiwe Mbuyisa, Nature Conservation Senior Lecturer and WMA project leader said community engagement projects like the WMA allowed MUT students and lecturers to become part of practical solutions to environmental problems.
The recent rainfall that Durban received over the past weeks brought deposition of solid waste from various stream channels into Durban beaches. Matthew Lecheko, Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health and one of the project facilitators, said marine ecosystems play a vital role in regulating our climate, controlling pollution and in providing important breeding and nursery habitats for our marine life. Matthew was delivering a morning brief to the team of 40 MUT WMA students that participated in the clean-up.
Zwelakithi Dlamini, a student in the Department of Nature Conservation and a Mentor to junior WMA members, said that the team collected over 60 bags of waste that could have ended up in the ocean, killing marine life.
Students who took part in the clean-up were from the Department of Nature Conservation, Environmental Health and Community Extension.