Two adventurous and conservation-minded changemakers, Camilla Howard and Michael Baretta, embarked on a 3000km ‘trek for trash’ around South Africa’s coastline on the 3rd of October 2012 to pick up and recycle litter and raise awareness along their 7-month journey.
Now in the 5th month of their trek, the daring duo have walked all the way along the coast from Alexander Bay in the northwest to Kenton on Sea in the Eastern Cape. Just over half way to their final destination near the Mozambican border, Kosi Bay, they have already achieved a great deal and are an inspiration to everyone living near the coast. Although they are walking along the coastline, they want their message to be a national one and hope they have inspired holiday-makers to return home and inspire their own communities all over South Africa.
The CAN DO! Trekking for Trash team have been successful in mobilizing support for cleaning up South Africa’s coastline along their journey. Trekking for Trash organized two community-supported beach cleanups in Cape Town and held another one in Port Elizabeth last weekend that was a huge success. Two hundred people joined them on Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth and together they collected 900kg’s in 2 hours.
They are hoping for an even bigger turnout on the 2nd of March at their East London clean up that will be held on Eastern Beach between 10am and 12pm. They have visited 10 schools, and have collected almost 4 tons of trash so far. They fill their bin backpack each day and often have locals and groups joining them to fill a few bags. This weight they personally collect will be added to the totals collected at the big clean ups and they hope to achieve their goal of 7 tons for the duration of the campaign.
The physical and mental challenges that go hand in hand with long-distance treks can be daunting, and require a great deal of tenacity and commitment. Camilla and Michael have had their fair share of challenges along the way – from shin splints to plantar fasciliitis, slipping down steep rocky cliff faces to slicing fingers open while shucking wild oysters and being arrested for trespassing on a National Key Point (while carrying R100 000 of counterfeit money in the backpack that we had just found on the beach!!) Their adventure thus far has been full of extreme highs and peppered with very few lows.
Inspired to start the “CAN DO! Trekking for Trash” initiative after realizing how much litter goes unnoticed and wanting to make a positive difference to the environment and communities along the coast, Camilla and Michael teamed up with Nampak’s metal division and Collect-a-Can as well as various other sponsors keen support and enable this noble initiative.
To keep up with the latest news and to support Camilla and Michael along their trek, connect with them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. They would love the public to join them at their clean-ups in East London and Durban, but if you live anywhere along the coastline from East London to Kosi Bay, please get in touch. They need all the help they can get along the way whether it be joining them for a short walk, filling up a few bags of trash or putting them up for the night! According to Camilla and Michael, the wonderful South African’s they have met and made friends with along the way have truly been the highlight of the whole experience.