In 2019, Plastics SA launched a new, annual award, which aims to recognise and reward excellence in South Africa by an individual in the field of waterways and marine and coastal clean-ups, called the Caroline Reid Award for Clean-Up Champion of the Year.

Caroline Reid was an ocean conservation warrior who sadly passed away in 2018 after a tragic accident. Caroline coordinated hundreds of beach and diving clean-ups and was central to the work done  in the Durban harbour in 2017 when nurdles leaked out of containers.  She worked tirelessly to increase the awareness of plastics pollution on the KwaZulu-Natal Coastline.

Water Week, which took place between 20 and 26 March 2022, seemed the ideal time to acknowledge the unsung heroes, in communities around South Africa, who tirelessly protect the environment and make a difference in the quality of community life.  They do it to create awareness of the plight of many of our waterways and oceans that are being affected by litter originating inland.

THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s recipients of the 2022 Caroline Reid Awards:

  •  Sulandi van den Heever has taken it upon herself to coordinate the clean-ups in the Lambert’s Bay area for the last decade.   Sulandi is a true West Coaster that just cannot stand back and see the town and surrounding areas ruined by littering, dumping and poor waste management.  In this sparsely populated area, she has proven to be integral in ensuring that clean-ups take place.
  • GEESE, and in particular Cilla Bromley, has been pivotal in organising clean-ups in the Glencairn and Simon’s Town areas, for more than a decade.  Cilla and her small band of dedicated volunteers have made this region a place to be proud of and we acknowledge her and the organisation’s commitment to a better world.
  • The Izame Zabantu Nature Helpers is a new group within this field and they are dedicated to removing the pollution that flows via the Black River, into the canals in Paarden Island in Cape Town.  They have shown that a small group can make a huge difference.  Every weekend they can be seen cleaning amongst the bollards on the outer Cape Town harbour wall and the number of bags filled with waste adds up to tens of thousands.  This team has taken on a thankless job, in an area that could be dangerous to work, and made the world difference in the short time that they have been doing it.
  • The Birdwatching fraternity are dedicated supporters of clean-up events and projects, in particular the Birdlife South Africa branch in the Overberg, under the auspices of Dr. Anton Odendal.    They have taken on possibly some of the most sensitive clean-up actions on the coast as they realise that it is a shared responsibility with the local authorities, to clean the environment so that it can be a safer place for all that live in it.
  • The Lower Breede River Conservation Trust,based in Witsand, is very proactive in keeping one of the largest rivers in the Western Cape managed and policed in conjunction with provincial and local authorities.  This responsibility includes monthly clean-ups.  They were also very involved with clean-ups of the last pellet spill that ended up on our beaches.
  • Illegal dumping has several negative outcomes including soil, water and air pollution.  It is for this reason that Luka Mashudu Makhado created the Soulbent Project focusing on garden services and recycling. Luka and his team are dedicated to cleaning Gauteng, one illegal dump at a time, although some days they clean 3 in a day. Luka now advertises the services for in the hope that communities will start addressing illegal dumping and manage their waste and recycling more efficiently.