EDITORIAL | Salutetoschoolgirl’s #NoPlasticFantastic

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It is immensely encouraging to read about young people in particular taking the initiative to protect our environment.The Herald reports today on a Port Elizabeth schoolgirl who was so moved about the damage caused by plastic pollution in the oceans that she has set up an innovative #NoPlasticFantastic society at her school.Pearson High School’s Sofia Finestone is also now an ambassador for the Algoa Bay-based Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), a non-profit organisation spearheading the African Marine Waste Network project.This has the worthy aim to prevent marine pollution in Africa at its source – on land – before it reaches the sea.Just the day before, The Herald reported on a similarly inspiring approach to the waste problem when we published the story of Khululekile Moko who collects rubbish for recycling in Walmer township.Thanks to intervention by others, Moko, 76, now has a bicycle-powered trailer to help him collect plastic bottles and other refuse, and this will go towards building an eco-brick pre-school in Gqebera.Although worlds apart, the Summerstrand teenager and the township environmentalist have the same goal: to reduce pollution and lift the burden on the environment which man has so thoughtlessly imposed.One of the SST’s goals is to create “clean spots” in Africa and the work of these two individuals feeds into that.At a time when citizens may feel dispirited about SA’s weak economy and other issues, it is heartening to learn of positive efforts to make a difference in society.Saturday June 8 is World Ocean Day and the SST, in conjunction with Sanccob and Wessa, has called for volunteers to help clean up Pollok Beach, one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s most beautiful public amenities.Young Sofia will be one of them and we salute her, Moko and all those who are willing to give up their time to help protect our environment.

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