04 January 2005

Operation Clean-up on Eastern Cape's beaches

It has been Operation Clean-up on the Eastern Cape's beaches for the past two days following the traditional swamping of beaches to welcome in the New Year. The hundreds of thousands of revellers leave behind tons of litter including dangerous broken bottles. It is an unsavoury habit the authorities are trying to break.

Rainy weather and stepped-up security measures on Port Elizabeth's beaches had a calming effect on both littering and crowd behaviour. A ban on alcohol and glass bottles resulted in less broken glass for municipal workers and volunteers to clean up than in previous years.

Wells Estate recently won international Blue Flag status, one of the criteria of which is cleanliness. Despite the weather, the metro estimates that half a million people visited its multitude of beaches over the weekend.

Roland Williams, of the Nelson Mandela Metro said: "It took the metro just one-and-a-half days to clean up more than 90% of the beaches and this despite the rain, which makes it more difficult."

The cleaning crew in East London started at 5am and by mid-morning the beaches around the city were clean. There was less rubbish to clean up this year because of the relatively small number of people that went to the beach on a wet New Year's Day. Allan Zealand, a spokesperson for East London Beaches, said: "The most dangerous thing is bottles and glass objects that is being thrown on the ground, broken bottles and the like. It is dangerous to the public as well as the staff cleaning it."

More than 30 tons of rubbish was removed from East London's beaches alone.


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