For months now a small team of volunteers and the force behind the Help Up cleanup team have been dedicated to removing plastic and other debris from the Black River, and the team has been steadily growing as more and more gutsy locals join the cause.

Help Up, a community initiative that is working towards cleaner rivers in Cape Town, has received a number of new volunteers as well as sponsorships in the form of plastic bags and waders from companies such as Tuffy and Plastics SA to boost their efforts.

New volunteers removing waste from Black River.

This past weekend Help Up had a record group of volunteers with 15 team members attending the weekend cleanup session.

In total the team managed to remove 2.5 tons of waste from the river in three hours, equating to so many bags it was difficult to count.

Heaps of bags filled with waste removed from Black River.

As always, volunteers found many strange and a few disturbing things discarded in the natural biome of the Black River.

Discoveries included mattresses, blankets, a fluorescent light tube and even a headless dog, the peculiar things found discarded in Black River never fail to shock.

A cleanup volunteer holding the fluorescent light tube found in the river.

Although the cleanups are difficult and can pull at the heartstrings of those who take part, they are needed to turn the plastic pollution problem in Cape Town rivers around.

“What does it take to go and clean a river week after week after week?┬áIt takes passion, it takes guts and it takes invention!” said Help Up on their Facebook page.

Volunteers scooping up plastic in all forms from the water.

Help Up is always looking for new volunteers to join their team and take part in weekly cleanups, so if you want to give it a try, check out their page here.

They also train and pay homeless folks to clean up the environment and if you can’t see yourself getting down and dirty to join the cause you can instead pledge R150 for a 3 hour river cleanup.

The sparkling clean Black River right after the cleanup team worked their magic.

Pictures: Facebook/Help Up

Article written by

Aimee Pace

Aimee is an avid gamer, enthusiastic yogi and animal lover. Addicted to anime, coffee and plant-based meals. Current favourite pastimes include, sewing and learning Japanese.