We’re told that people litter because of laziness. But this doesn’t quite fit the scenes of virtually empty bins sentineling trash-topped streets in many areas of South Africa. For people to degrade the bare ground on which they live is a tale of something deeper. It’s an issue of the sub-conscious, one that can be solved. Or at least that’s the theory of a group of Durban women who are picking it apart by the truckload.
The women come from different places with something cheerless in common – illegal dumping sites. And far too many of them to consciously ignore any longer. So they got to thinking. One piece of mislaid plastic tossed into a bin – from 3-point range for bonus points – reveals a patch of grass. A field full and you’ve got a park. Ten days and 90 truckloads later and the Durban women had rehabilitated ten illegal dumping sites, creating clean recreational parks for neighbourhoods from Verluam to Claremont.
With the initiative taken up, communities soon pitched in to their efforts. Many residents of the areas lent a hand in their free time and those caught up in business sent food through to the clean-up crews. This is the true success of the project. People have been inspired by the idea of coming home to places that inspire pride. With the group committed to 100 more parks over a five-month period, the message of cleanliness and togetherness is geared to spread across South Africa.