Creating a greener Future with USKAR Students

The third USKAR litter cleanup for the year was successful as students walked through campus cleaning up litter.

The goal behind the cleanups is to take away eyesores and prevent the seeping of toxins into our environment. Several other cleanups are organized for 2019 with the cleanups linked to major environmental days.

Benjamin de la Fontein,… organised other cleanups separately,  including the cleanup of the creek between Adams and Robert Sobukwe houses.

Jamie Ayliffe a third year ichthyology USKAR student says that the cleanups are aimed at raising environmental awareness. Ayliffe organized the cleanups through social media and sharing the event with friends.

Students spent the morning cleaning up litter around the USKAR campus. Photo by Joseph Baker

Joined by an enthusiastic group of friends and students Ayliffe brought the litter cleanup crew to the Douglas Reservoir. The cleanup happens around the banks of the reservoir under the towering shadow of the 1820 Settler’s Monument. The cleanup crew works around the area and down the path ways heading to botanical gardens. Cleaning up human pollutants including plastic, beer bottles and condoms as they go. Twelve black bags were filled in one afternoon with a treat of Oreo cookies to celebrate afterwards.

Fontein said that the most common items discarded into the creek are beer and cool drink bottles, sweet wrappers, foam cups, cigarette boxes and condoms among other things. Decade-old litter with wrappers displaying dates from the 1990s were collected during Fontaine’s creek cleanup.

“If I can make a difference in one person’s life, hopefully there will be a waterfall effect on changing mindsets around littering and environmental responsibility” – Jamie Ayliffe

Ayliffe aims to organize another litter cleanup for the World Oceans Day on 8 June. With the event taking place as a beach day litter cleanup. Ayliffe is concerned for the survival of fish in the ocean with the proliferation of plastic oceanic waste. She says that by 2050 scientists claim that ‘there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean’, if no chance is made in our behavior.

“Raising awareness of the ‘impact of littering is through education”, says Ayliffe. She plans to share her message about environmental awareness through visiting schools in Makhanda. Ayliffe plans to make a difference in one person’s life and hopefully there will be a cascading waterfall effect’ on changing mindsets around littering and environmental responsibility.


Words by Joseph Baker