Bottles, bottles everywhereBy: TANJA BAUSE
IN one of the biggest clean-up campaigns held in Namibia to date, more than 30 tons of beer bottles were removed from the Kunene Region last week.
About 25 representatives of big companies, 4x4 enthusiasts, nature lovers and small businesses gathered at Okangwati at the beginning of last week to start this mammoth task.
The idea took form last year after the Easter weekend, when Martin Theron, a member of the Trax & Trails 4x4 Club and a regular visitor to Kaokoland, was appalled by the huge amount of empty beer bottles littering the landscape.
He and other members of the club decided something had to be done to clean up Kaokoland and preserve its natural beauty.
They approached Namibia Breweries, which immediately pledged its full support. Negotiations with the local chiefs started early this year and last week a full-scale clean-up was held at Okangwati and Swartbooisdrift/Oshimahaka.
At Okangwati about 42 000 bottles, mostly Castle and Black Label quart bottles, were collected, crushed, bagged, loaded onto a truck and transported to Cape Town for recycling.
At Swartbooisdrift/Oshimahaka a further 9,5 tons of glass was collected. The volunteers also collected and compacted tins, burned paper and plastic and left both places clean.
The Kaoko Clean-up project is expected to continue, as there are still huge amounts of bottles lying around in many parts of the region.
The participants also hope that the local inhabitants realise the value of a clean environment and start putting the bottles in a central place to make future clean-ups easier.
This time around the volunteers had to collect the bottles in the veld and from homesteads.
This campaign brought people from different backgrounds together for a common goal to rid Kaokoland of empty beer bottles.
From top managers such as Sven Thieme and Desmond van Jaarsveld of Namibia Breweries, to men who drove up from Johannesburg and local Ovahimba people worked side by side disposing of the huge heaps of bottles.
Jaco Brand of TrenTyre at Otjiwarongo saw the car with the Kaokoland Clean-up sticker and spontaneously donated tyres, drove to Okangwati and helped with the cleaning.
The local communities involved in the clean-up received donations of maize meal, cooking oil, tinned fish and other food.
The clean-up was jointly organised by Namibia Breweries, Mondjila Safaris, Trax & Trails 4x4 Club, Onca Adventures and Rent-a-Drum.
“Being part of something like this makes you leave with a very good feeling, a feeling of knowing you did something good not only for the environment but also for the community, for the future generations of people visiting this special place and for the people staying here,” said Sven Thieme, Chairman of Namibia Breweries.