SPAR Women's Challenge 2019

Zisa fights plastics pollution

Zisa, the STOP plastic mascot, was at the 2019 SPAR Women's Challenge as well as the SPAR Kids' Challenge
Zisa, the STOP plastic mascot, was at the 2019 SPAR Women's Challenge as well as the SPAR Kids' Challenge
Image: Leon Hugo

SPAR Eastern Cape will use the Women’s Challenge race day in Port Elizabeth on Saturday to introduce Zisa, the new STOP Plastic campaign mascot.

Zisa first popped up at the Kids’ Challenge on Wednesday and will be back for the Women’s Challenge 10km and 5km events at Pollok Beach on Saturday, to remind everyone about the damage discarded plastic is causing worldwide.

SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said the colourful mascot was a wonderful opportunity to maintain awareness about the campaign in a fun way.

“It will be the first chance to introduce Zisa to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay,” he said.

The Port Elizabeth-born mascot sports a bracelet made of recycled plastic bags, showing one of the possible reuses for plastic waste.

Stapleton said the campaign started a year ago and besides the awareness created by figures such as SPAR EC STOP Plastic ambassador Sarah Ferguson, the immediate impact was felt with 3-million fewer plastic bags being sold in the last few months of 2018.

Now, he said, SPAR wanted to continue educating the public about its efforts and to encourage everyone to join the fight.

“We have various plans in place to keep the Women’s Challenge a litter-free event.

“We want to change mindsets about how we use and reuse plastic.

“Yes, we have a huge plastic problem but it is caused by a people problem.

“We want to remind people of the role they can play.”

STOP Plastic bins would be “littered” all around the course.

There will also be some new recycling bin stations.

“TEP Athletics’ Association has ruled that runners can be disqualified for littering.”

● Online entries for the Women’s Challenge have closed but you can still enter at the Pollok Beach registration tent on Friday from 9am to 6pm, or on race day from 5.30am.

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