There have been a great line up of new events at this year's Oyster Festival, but none perhaps quite as inspiring (and environmentally significant) as the Artful Waste Challenge which took place on Wednesday, July 6. On certainly one of the coldest days of the winter, a morning coupled with sporadic rain and icy winds, a total of six teams along with a unit of SANparks rangers, braved the elements to take part in an event that the Knysna Basin Project – the organisers of the event - hope will inspire change. A wave of change!
“The aim of this event, says organiser Louw Claassens, a scientist working for the Knysna Basin Project, “was to raise awareness surrounding the issues of waste in Knysna.” The seriousness of which became exceedingly apparent to all those taking place in a clean-up event earlier in the year., After scouring the southern banks of Thesen Island (a relatively small area of the estuary) at low tide for less than an hour, a total of 16 bags of trash were collected,80% of which, was plastic.
The six teams (which included two visiting teams from Cape Town) then headed to the SANparks tent at the festival grounds where teams had to make something artistic out of the trash collected. All the artworks made sent a clear message about what our trash is doing to our oceans. It is a global problem, but the solution needs to start at a grass- roots, local level, which is the message the Knysna Basin Project is attempting to relay. The Knysna Estuary, our town's most precious aquatic asset, unites with the mighty Indian Ocean in daily tidal dance... often dumping plastic that has made its way into this estuarine system. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year – a cause for great concern.
Looking after our lagoon is a collective responsibility. Each and every one of us needs to say NO to single use plastic items and the plastic that we do use must be RECYCLED!!
This event was generously supported by several local businesses: Pick n Pay, Ocean Odyssey Whale Watching and Eco Trips, Knysna Elephant Park and Metelerkamps in association with WESSA Knysna, Sanparks and Knysna Municipality and our Judge, local artist Jan Andre Raats.
For more information: www.knysnabasinproject.co.za