South Africa: The Painstaking Task of Keeping NMB's Swartkops River Clean


Twenty years ago their home at AJ van Coller on the banks of the Swartkops River in Nelson Mandela Bay was destroyed when the community was moved to make space for a hazardous dumpsite. But in 2017 they returned to fight for the health of their river - and two years later they have removed 38,000 bags of rubbish from the river banks and surroundings.

In the Nelson Mandela Bay neighbourhood of Wells Estate everyone knows that if Dolly Mitchell is close, you do not drop a piece of plastic on the ground.

"We tell them straight," she says. "Who do they think must pick it up?"

For the past two years, Mitchell, Marie Tiervry and Berenice Koemoete have been part of a team of five who have picked up 38,000 bags of plastic waste from the banks of their beloved Swartkops River as part of a project run by the Zwartkops Trust.

They receive a stipend for their work from Spar Eastern Cape.

"Marie told me what she was doing and I said yes, I will come help. I didn't have a job at the time," Mitchell said.

"It is very dirty around here," she explains with a wave...

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