I live in Strand, near Cape Town, a mere one to two hundred metres from the Lourens River, a small river that is little more than a stream unless it’s in spate. I don’t often go for walks by the river, preferring the beach, but today I decided near sunset to go for a walk by the river with Bonnie, our dog. Of course I took my camera along and was able to record the disgusting state of the river course.
There are plastic bags, bottles, tins, food wrappers, etc., festooning the trees and rocks in the course, where they have been deposited by flood waters, after being swept downstream. Whether these have been discarded by the bergies (homeless people) that live along the river banks at various points, or simply thrown away indiscriminately by people as they finish their food or drink I can’t say.
Other things I saw seem more deliberately discarded, like this purple plastic framework of a broken toy. Things like this are probably left by the bergies who move around the area, particularly on garbage day, collecting rubbish that they can sell to recycling companies. They have a disturbing tendency of smashing things they find to remove parts with a value and simply leaving the rest lying wherever they are. While I don’t begrudge these people the right to make a living, and am impressed by the way they organise themselves with different people handling different types of recyclables, it would be really nice if they would be a little less careless about the mess they leave behind.
The worst things I saw though are things like this pile of newspapers, neatly bundled and packaged up into bags, before being dumped by the river. Sadly dumping like this can’t be blamed on those who may litter because of poverty or an upbringing where care for the environment was never a factor. These, and the piles of garden refuse are dumped by residents of the neighbourhood, the very people who should care most about the cleanliness of the local environment. It seems though that people care so little for the environment that they will simply dump their trash anywhere as long as it is out of sight of their property. I hope the moron that dumped those newspapers reads this post. Do you realise that you could have gotten rid of these newspapers by leaving them outside your house where they would have been collected by the bergies, who would not only remove them for you but earn a little money in the process?