Durban - Some areas of Durban are so polluted with single-use plastic that one cannot stay in the area too long without hazardous material gear.

The area around the Bluff Yacht Club was cleaned up by Greenpeace in a #breakfreefromplastic campaign. Picture: Pixabay

This is the view of global environmental rights organisation, Greenpeace, that recently undertook a clean up, and audit of items found, in the Bluff Yacht Club area, just south of the harbour.

The cleanup was part of the international “BreakFreeFromPlastic” campaign.

Hundreds of plastic items were cleaned out of the area, and included single-use plastic packaging from several of the world’s major consumer goods companies.

“The Bluff Yacht Club is located in a far corner of Durban’s bay where after it rains plastic bottles line the shoreline a meter thick. Although the city had undertaken a cleanup of this area two days prior to our cleanup, we still managed to pick up enough branded items to conduct a successful audit regardless,” said Melanie Sember, a Greenpeace Africa volunteer and activist.

She said of the yacht club area was adjacent to some of the last remaining mangroves in the area, that forms part of the Bayhead Natural Heritage site.

“The area is so overwhelmingly polluted with toxins, chemicals and littered with single use plastic that you can’t venture too far in or stay in the area too long without hazmat gear. Only a few decades ago this corner of Durban bay used to house water so clear you could see through it, now the water is black with pollution, shouldn't be touched with bare hands and more so with each rainfall,” she said.

The results of their cleanup would be collated with other cleanups held around the world, and would inform which companies Greenpeace will be asking to change from single-use plastic packaging to more eco-friendly forms of packaging.

“Greenpeace Africa is collating the audit results from all our country hubs and will publicly announce the trends that we find early next month. The brand audit is part of a bigger global project (#BreakFreeFromPlastic) which seeks to find trends in ocean population across the globe.

“People can still sign the #BreakFreeFromPlastic petitions on,” she said.