During heavy winter rains, Cape Town’s new litter net project, which targets stormwater drains along the Atlantic Seaboard, has prevented heaps of plastic waste from flowing into the ocean.

Litter from Cape Town’s streets has been swept into stormwater drains by recent rains. This trash usually ends up on beaches and in the ocean.

Large nets attached to stormwater drain outlets along Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, however, have prevented at least some of this litter run-off, with this week’s heavy rains putting the new project to the test.

The City of Cape Town, Pristine Earth Collective, and Shark Spotters are working together on the litter net project.

The use of nets to catch litter and prevent it from entering rivers, oceans, and beaches is not new. Previously, nets were used to combat plastic pollution in the Zandvlei Estuary near Muizenberg and Gansbaai, a coastal Overberg town.

“The nets themselves are not unique, but this is the most comprehensively managed iteration of the net concept, as previous projects did not have the manpower to manage and maintain the nets as comprehensively,” Jordaan explained, adding that full-time staff would manage the nets four days a week and spend the fifth cleaning dumping hot spots in their own community of Gugulethu.

“They are cleaning the nets, sorting waste, and cleaning the beaches of Sea Point during those four days. As a result of the reciprocal model, not only does Sea Point benefit, but so does Gugulethu.”

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