World CleanUp Day 2021 On Hout Bay Beach

This World CleanUp Day (and International Coastal cleanup day) we took the Gugulethu environmental champions to Hout Bay Beach to clean up and for a fun outing to the beach. We split into two groups, with the younger youths joining the Sentinel Ocean Alliance CleanUp on their side of the beach. Fishing line, bottles and lolipop sticks were the most common items found.

The older volunteers joined the cleanUp hosted by Ocean’s Alive on the Mariner’s wharf side of the beach. We cleaned loads of litter from the stormwater outlet and then along the beach as we made our way back to the Sentinel side. At a glance, the beach seemed quite clean, but when looking for litter, we found plenty to pick up, with fishing line being the most common item.It was great to join two organizations working so hard to not only clean up our beaches but also educate youths about the importance of conserving our oceans!
It was a beautiful spring day and after the cleanup the youths enjoyed this rare opportunity to spend time on the beach. First, they had a picnic lunch supplied by PEC, rounded off with delicious doughnuts sponsored by Kispy Kreme SA. The doughnuts were a big hit with the youths! Transport is a major obstacle preventing youths from communities like Gugulethu from enjoying time on our beautiful beaches and these community champions reveled in the chance to splash in the waves and enjoy the sand and surf!
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Another Successful Clean-Up In Gugs

The Gugulethu Environmental champions gathered again on 6 September to clean up an illegal dumping hotspot beside a main road. This group of inspiring volunteers organizes a clean-up around the end of each month. Since one couldn’t be organized the previous weekend, this cleanup was for the end of August. Although a thorough cleanup took place at this location in September 2020 for World Clean-up Day, a significant pile of waste had built up again. This is why PEC is always seeking ways to prevent illegal dumping.

It is encouraging to hear that a greater cleanup campaign has been running in Gugulethu, possibly partly inspired by the efforts of this group of dedicated youths.Over just 1 hour 20 volunteers removed 50 bags of rubbish and the area was cleared of waste, aside from the impossible building rubble. Afterwards, the youths enjoyed a delicious lunch at Gogo’s kitchen, sponsored by PEC, for their efforts.

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July Gugulethu Cleanup, In August

When we arrived at the passage to be cleaned on Saturday 7 August, I doubted we could make a tangible difference on one morning. The amount of rubbish seemed overwhelming. But the Gugulethu community champions are not so easily discouraged. 36 youths got stuck in, removing as much rubbish as they could shift between the masses of building rubble.

The residents neighboring this dumping site came out to find out what was going on, and, encouraged by the willingness of these youths to tackle the rubbish, a Gogo joined in with the cleanup. Everyone toiled and worked together to make a noticeable difference to the layers of trash and building rubble. The number of disposable nappies dumped was certainly very noticeable but did not deter the volunteers.

After about an hour and a half, we removed about 60 bags of waste and, although we cannot remove the rubble, the passageway looked a lot cleaner. It was certainly less of a health hazard! The reward for all of this hard work was a hearty chicken & vegetable curry, proved by PEC and expertly cooked in Gogo’s Kitchen.

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Newlands Forest Hike

We at Pristine Earth Collective believe it is important to acknowledge and when possible reward the dedication and hard work displayed by the group of Youths that we work with in Gugulethu. Time and again they volunteer for cleanups in their community, even though it's hard work and often the weather conditions are less than pleasant. They also show a persistent interest in protecting the environment and are helping to raise awareness in their community about this. Our most recent outing with the group was a hike in the Newlands forest in mid-June.

Access to the forest is free but transport creates a barrier to activities like this to these youths, who deserve time to enjoy the beauty of our natural environment. Many of us may take an opportunity like this for granted. But there was so much interest in the outing, that Pamela from The Gugulethu CAN (our community liaison) had to select those who have participated in the most recent cleanups to attend, while we plan another such outing for the remaining group of youths.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and we all enjoyed the clean forest air. The youths appreciated the picturesque river and mighty trees and many selfies were taken with this perfect backdrop. The older boys enjoyed some trail running and were keen to summit the mountain, but since there were some young children in the group, we decided to stop for a picnic lunch in the magnificent surroundings. It was a wonderful day for all and the PEC team are gratified to be able to take these very deserving community champions on an enjoyable outing in nature.

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Keeping The Kids Healthy! Cleaning Outside A Creche In Gugs

On 29 June the environmental champions in Gugulethu gathered to clean the area just outside a creche. The walkway to the creche had previously been choking in rubbish due to illegal dumping, but the community rallied to clean and beautify the area, with tyre barriers, tables and chairs. Unfortunately, the culprits then started dumping right outside the creche, creating a health hazard and danger for the children!


Despite the intermittent rain and biting wind the committed youths sifted through rubble to remove plastic, glass, nappies, and other waste. Although the building rubble is impossible to remove by hand, about 30 bags of rubbish was cleaned and the area was leveled. Hopefully, clear safe access to the creche will now prevent the kids from getting sick!

The reward after a hard morning of work was a hearty chicken curry provided by PEC and kindly and expertly cooked by Gogo’s kitchen.

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Recent Gugs Clean-Ups

Our team of environmental heroes in Gugulethu is so committed to cleaning up their hood that they get together to do a clean-up every month! On 27 March the youth were joined by some neighbors to clean up a walkway that they use to get to school. Despite the warm weather and hard work, everyone kept a positive attitude. 85 bags of rubbish were removed and the pathway looked much better after they were finished with their hard work!A clear path to school!

On 1 May
the environmental champions gathered once again to clean up a park bordering the community garden in Gugulethu. It was a depressing site before they got stuck in, with loads of building rubble, which is the most difficult dumped waste to remove!

By lunchtime the park was clear and 79 bags of rubbish were removed! The team then retreated to Gogo’s kitchen for some well-earned chicken curry.

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The Gugs champions visit the Two-Oceans Aquarium

After the gruelling work of their last community clean-up, and with the amazing commitment to monthly cleans, Pristine earth Collective were gratified to be able to take the Gugulethu environmental champions on a fun outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium. The group of 16 youths ranging in age from 12 to 18, along with 3 adults who help organise and co-ordinate the clean-ups arrived excited on Saturday 13 March 2021.


The morning started with an enjoyable and engaging lesson on intertidal organisms organised by the aquarium in their newly outfitted classroom which allows for interaction with marine animals while adhering to social distancing. The class was both informative and engaging, allowing the youths to touch and investigate the animals they were learning about. The enthusiasm and joy were palpable.

After the class, we were allowed to explore and enjoy the Aquarium in it's full glory. From schools of clownfish to enormous spider crabs and luminous jellyfish, there was so much to see and appreciate. Numerous selfies were taken and some of the children made friends with a turtle. Although everyone seemed to enjoy all of the exhibits, the penguin exhibit was a highlight for some, while others were blown away by the great white sharks.

We hope this visit has helped to inspire a greater appreciation for our oceans and the environment, as well as an understanding of why we need to protect nature from littering and plastic pollution. A massive thank-you to the Two-Oceans Aquarium for sponsoring the visit, and arranging for a lesson on Saturday!

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First Gugs Youth Community Clean Up Of 2021

The young environmental champions in Gugulethu that Pristine Earth Collective have been working with have been itching to get back to cleaning up their neighbourhood, which is plagued by illegal dumping. On Saturday 27 February they held their first PEC supported clean up of the year.

It was a successful day. About 13 youths stuck around in sunny and windy conditions to clear up waste from a corner near Gogo’s kitchen, which borders onto the GROW Nonkululeko ECD (Early Childhood Development) centre. In total 44 bags of mostly plastic, paper and glass waste were collected. We did not bag natural and building materials but instead cleared what we could to the side. The weather was not ideal and due to all the builder’s rubble mixed on/into the waste, it was quite laborious work. Illegal dumping of building rubble is a pervasive problem that makes cleaning up an area significantly more difficult.

After the hard work, the youths and volunteers were tired but satisfied with the difference they had made. They were rewarded with a delicious curry lunch cooked by Gogo and supplied by PEC for their efforts.  These environmental stewards are making plans to hold a clean up in their community every month!

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Youth Outing Up Table Mountain

Our budding environmental champions from our Gugulethu Youth Awareness campaign have been doing such an outstanding job and have taken such initiative to make their community a happier and cleaner place. 

On 21 November we took the youth on a trip up Table Mountain in the cableway to show our appreciation for their hard work and determination. They also got an opportunity to appreciate the natural environment on the mountain, and to get a different perspective (from such a height!) of the city they live in. It was a beautiful day for all involved and the Pristine Earth Collective Team enjoyed sharing this experience with the Youth. They have risen to the challenges and show great hope for the future Thank you to @tablemountainca for sponsoring the Cableway tickets, and to the Gugulethu CAN for helping co-ordinate the Youth.

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Illegal Dumping Round Table With CoCT

On 18 November 2020 Pristine Earth Collective and The Litterboom Project met with City of Cape Town officials from a number of different departments to discuss illegal dumping in our city. Representatives from Solid Waste, Canals and Stormwater, Water & Sanitation, Informal Sector Infrastructure and Green Jobs came together with open and collaborative attitudes to enlighten PEC to the challenges they face in tackling this pervasive issue.

Various possible solutions to help reduce illegal dumping were tabled and discussed from different perspectives. The experience and insights shared by these dedicated civil servants were invaluable in helping PEC and TLP formulate a multi-pronged action plan to begin tacking illegal dumping. PEC is deeply grateful to all who participated for their time and constructive inputs as we formulate illegal dumping projects on our upstream journey to tackle plastic pollution.

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PEC brings The Litterboom Project to Cape Town

90% of marine plastic pollution comes from river systems. The Litterboom Project (TLP) has been successfully removing 700kg – 1 ton of plastic from 5 KZN river systems each day since 2017. Litterbooms are highly effective floating booms that catch most plastic from a river, which is then removed by trained teams and sorted on site. Pristine Earth Collective partnered with TLP in early 2020 to bring their successful model to Cape Town.

Please visit our Litterboom page for more information and take a look at our video of the installation in the Black River, Mowbray, below.

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Our 1st Youth Awareness Event and Follow-up Clean

On July 24 Pristine Earth Collective hosted our first Youth Awareness Event on the Lotus River. We took 22 youths and 2 community leaders on a “source to sea” type journey of waste along a single river, in partnership with the City of Cape Town’s Green Jobs department (an employment program tied in with river cleansing and invasive plant species removal).

From an illegal dumping hotspot in Gugulethu, we took the learners further downstream, to a Litterboom on the Lotus River in Grassy Park, another underserved community. They were shown the direct impact of the waste at source, within their community and then how the Litterboom installed across the river traps the surface waste and intercepts ocean-bound plastics. This allowed us to illustrate the intensity of waste that travels downstream daily toward the wetlands of Zeekoevlei and showcase interventions.

From there the youth were taken on an exciting boat trip on the Zeekoevlei, kindly provided by the Friends of Zeekoevlei & Rondevlei. This gave them a first-hand experience of the delicate ecosystem at the end of the river, which is annually drawn down to flush into the ocean of False Bay (Muizenburg). They enjoyed this immensely, especially after months of being locked down in their neighbourhoods. 

Feedback was very positive from the community leaders, with the youths forming clean up groups to work in their areas of Gugulethu to clear unused spaces and drive change in their communities and homes.

As a follow-up to the initial awareness event, and following the prompting from the youth involved, Pristine Earth Collective conducted our first community clean up with 40 passionate youths in the Gugulethu township on the 13th of August 2020. Those involved had expressed concern about waste piling up on the curbside near one of the main soup kitchens. Once they were divided into teams, they got stuck into clearing and packing the waste under the supervision of community leaders and one of our Directors, George van der Schyff. The waste included not only plastic but organic and building materials too, again the result of illegal dumping. 

Within 90 minutes we had filled up 112 solid waste bags (over 300kg). The children were then treated to lunch at Gogo’s Kitchen. 

With insights from these and ongoing events with the Gugulethu community, we are working to identify key youth environmental champions/stewards within the community. Our hope is that they will take on a sense of ownership of their section of the township and be incentivised for doing so through experiences and materials. 

Please visit the post about the awareness event and the clean-up on our events page for more information on these events.

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WorldCleanUpDay 2020 Gugulethu Clean-Up

What a day! #WorldCleanUpDay2020 took place on Saturday, 19 September. The country and coastlines were electric with citizens doing their bit for a cleaner world to live in. We celebrated the day #upstream in Gugulethu Cape Town with a passionate group of 42 youths to clean up selected dumping hotspots in the community. Many of these youths were involved in PEC’s July Awareness event and August community clean-up. These inspired community champions are showing impressive initiative and are fast becoming environmental stewards tackling pollution at the heart of their neighbourhood.

With such a great turnout of youths and joined by the City of Cape Town Green Jobs Department, we split into three teams to tackle three dumping hotspots nearby. In 2 hours almost 500 bags of rubbish were collected! That’s over 2 tons of litter that was prevented from ending up in our oceans, rivers, and other areas where litter has no place. 

A big thank you to our partners who added both support in the cleanup as well as goodies for the youth members: Laughtons Hardware for citrus trees and paints to be used in public spaces, BiddyKins for reusable menstrual pads, City of Cape Town Green Jobs department for assisting to clean and removal of the waste, Adidas ZA for recognizing and rewarding those involved in the clean up with soccer balls and #gugulethucan Pamela and Team for their support and engagement.

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    24 September

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