Announcing the Launch of Inkwazi Isu and the Beach Rake

Announcing the Launch of Inkwazi Isu and the Beach Rake

Municipality, Big Business and Community stand together to clean up the environment and get plastic waste out of the sea and back into the value chain.

Minster of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the Honourable Mrs Creecy will launch the use of a Beach Rake and the Inkwazi Isu on 19 September at Toti Main Beach

Everyday plastic is used by all of us and then discarded instead of being reused, repurposed and recycled. Our throw away mindset needs to be reordered and a value chain re-established so that our beaches can be full of clean sand and our rivers free of floating bottles.

Inkwazi Isu (Fisheagle Project) is the brainchild of a group of collaborators from Industry and Civil society who engaged with the eThekwini Municipality and put together a project to address education, infrastructure development and an Innovation Hub, to develop new ideas for entrepreneurs, to highlight plastic pollution on the KZN South Coast

In response to the worldwide call for a solution to the plastic pollution problem, many have taken to protests to request for a change to the industry. Here in Amanzimtoti, the stakeholders have all come together to design and implement a comprehensive difference in the way plastic waste is managed. After the last flash floods that covered the beaches with tonnes of plastic, local NGO Clean Surf Project decided that more had to be done than simply picking up after the problem. Two immediate interventions were required and the Inkwazi Isu was born. The KZN Marine Waste Network South Coast was formed and industry leaders including Coca Cola Beverages South Africa, SASOL, PETCO, Polyco, Polystyrene Association of SA, Plastics SA and local community leaders got together to address the situation. Coca Cola Beverages South Africa sponsored a Beach Rake with a Unimog, a multi purpose vehicle, which will be operated by Clean Surf Project and remove the smaller particles of plastic that cannot be picked up by hand, and therefore improve the quality of our beaches. SASOL funded a Baseline Study to quantify the problems and draw up a project to address the issues around, and education, collection at source, recycling, and river clean-ups. Working closely with the Municipality, Industry and Civil Society, a support mechanism has been established to empower local informal recyclers, local businesses and NGO’s to overcome the current practices of treating used plastic as a worthless product and enabling the potential of its recycling value  to be reached. By identifying and facilitating strategic partnerships and facilitating shifts in the collection and processing of recyclable plastic, KZN Marine Waste Network South Coast through the Inkwazi Isu hopes to provide improved environmental education and training, the development of infrastructure to supply Buy Back Centres and infrastructure to assist collectors and recyclers and ultimately to develop a new locally based value chain for used plastic, which is essential for reduction, reusing and recycling.

Inkwazi Isu Steering Committee

Inkwazi Isu Steering Committee

In 2018 after a severe flood in KZN, Clean Surf Project conducted major beach clean up’s along the south Coast and collected tons of plastic, which they had nowhere to send. They realised that something had to be done to address this environmental crisis and contacted the KZN Waste Network and Plastic Alliance SA, looking for a solution. Together with other role players in Amanzimtoti, they had realised that the plastic waste problem was a complex one and would need a comprehensive and multisectoral approach to address.

Through the Plastic Alliance, SA Initiative, various role players were brought on board from Industry and from the local community the following Organisations were included in a series of workshops to define the problem:

  • Clean Surf Project,
  • Ward 97 Councillor,
  • Sapphire Coast Tourism,
  • eThekwini Department of Solid Waste, and
  • Toti Conservancy.

SASOL then funded a Baseline study of the area to define the problem and determine the feasibility of a project to address plastic pollution on the upper south-coast. The Project Area has been defined as the Amanzimtoti and eZimbokodweni Catchments This includes the Isipingo river and the Little Amanzimtoti river which are connected to the main rivers through sewer infrastructure, and thus from part of the catchment area.

Based on this groundwork a collaboration was required between all the role players to design and implement a cohesive response to the challenge of the environmental impact of Plastics. 

A Steering Committee was constituted in June 2020 to facilitate the design of a the Inkwazi Isu solutions framework.

The Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee is to facilitate collaboration with all role players to provide an integrated approach to the development and implementation of:

  • Waste Management Infrastructure;
  • Clean-up’s, beach and rivers;
  • Education, and
  • Innovation and Technology.

The Steering Committee will work on a relevant Institutional Design such that the individual projects offered by the various role players in the Industry can be consolidated into a meaningful, sustainable, single entity program that incorporates the best solutions from each role player and has the capacity to manage an integrated solution by managing the various components to build capacity to responsibly manage plastic from cradle to grave.

INKwazi Isu

INKwazi Isu

After seeing the competition requirements for a Zulu name and relevance to the area that it covers, the name and symbolism thereof, came very easy to me, having been blessed to stay in Amanzimtoti most of my life, as well as being involved in a lot of community events and projects  – INKwazi – the Zulu name for the Fish Eagle was a definite.

The African Fish Eagle call, is known as the “Voice of Africa” and I am blessed enough to hear that call on a weekly basis by nature of where I stay overlooking Hutchison Park and the Amanzimtoti River.

I have regularly seen a pair of Fish Eagles fly and soar, and hear that haunting call up and down the Ilanda Wilds Valley. That powerful picture of the Fish Eagle in Flight is an awesome sight over the Amanzimtoti River and Hutchison Park.

When looking into the nature of the Fish Eagle and where it lives, and I quote from a piece of writing from the African Raptor Centre WEB Page:

“These eagles inhabit Africa’s larger waterways, estuaries, lakes and dams where they hunt fish from perches that overlook the water. Their presence in fact acts as a barometer, as to the quality of our water systems.  Its distinctive cry is, for many, evocative of the spirit or essence of Africa. As apex species they can act as barometers as to the quality of our water systems and their presence in an area means that the lower levels of the eco-system are still intact and healthy. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African Fish Eagles are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in colour. The hook-shaped beak, ideal for a carnivorous lifestyle, is yellow with a black tip.”

So when you take all the details above regarding the Fish Eagle and the fact that we have two here in the area, that the project covers, it just felt very significant to me.

That they would only be here if the area’s Eco-system etc. is still intact. That and the fact that all the hard work of all the community and organizations put in, to ensure that we try and keep it at that level.

I am also very proud to be part of a very strong group of community members called the Amanzimtoti Sports Centre, whose Symbol is – INKwazi – The Powerful Fish Eagle.

It is represented across a whole range of sports codes, as their symbols too and we are all very proud when we see that Fish Eagle on display daily, across all walks of life, ages and sports codes, conservation and recreation events.

So Yep – The INKwazi Project – as a name and as a project, will definitely be well represented, to ensure that the fish eagles remain here and hereby know that we are doing the right thing.

The Symbol of the fish eagle can also be used with those enormous, strong claws holding nature (rivers, sea, trees, fish and animals in one claw and then us as earth and humans in the other) as marketing and advertising to show the need to work together, to keep this Beautiful Bird of Prey in the Air and on Land.