Durban has the busiest port in Africa, contributing 11% to South Africa’s gross domestic product. However, pollution in the Port of Durban and its waterways is a problem for the local municipality, eThekwini. In response, Open Oceans uses technology and powerful storytelling to inform municipal policy and decision-making, empower small businesses and bring informal waste pickers into the economic mainstream.
Activities are designed to integrate different forms of waste and to promote a more circular approach to the economy, bringing together various actors in the waste management system. Drones provide image data that enables a better understanding of the cycles of plastic pollution and assists informal waste pickers operating in the arena to plan their collection cycles by informing them when to collect. In addition, through a partnership with a local lab, eyewear was produced from recycled waste, to address the impact of poor sight on children’s literacy, and to serve as an advocacy tool for prioritising ecological matters in the city.
The project demonstrates that better-integrated waste management is possible, and, through partnership, innovative products can emerge that solve social and distributive health issues.
What has been achieved
Alignment with IUDF
Government: eThekwini Municipality
Civil Society: Open Oceans (NGO), community members
Business: informal waste pickers, The Maker Space
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