To celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day, on Saturday September 17, environmental activist Zoe Prinsloo, 20, of Richwood, held her 100th beach clean-up.
More than 90 people, including deputy mayor Eddie Andrews and mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien, braved the cold to join the clean-up at Milnerton Lagoon Beach.
To date, Ms Prinsloo has collected 10.2 tons of litter from Milnerton and Table View beaches.
She says she found her passion for keeping the shoreline clean as a 10-year-old with the Bothasig girl guides.
“I regularly attended clean-ups, and when I moved up to rangers (a senior branch of girl guiding) and I had to choose my year-long community service project for my Protea award, I of course chose to do beach clean-ups and I joined Cape Town Beach Cleanups,” she said.
But it didn’t stop there because Ms Prinsloo then started holding her own beach clean-ups before starting the Save A Fishie non-profit organisation.
“I knew I had to do more. I kept seeing the same culprits at every clean-up: plastic straws, earbuds, take-away containers and plastic bottles… There was just so so much,” she said.
“Now people might be wondering, why Save a Fishie? Why would I choose such a strange name for my organisation? Why not something more professional? Something with more abbreviations? Well it’s actually a really cute story, one my mom loves me to tell.
“So I was cleaning amongst the rocks by the Milnerton Lagoon, and I pulled out this plastic bag trapped between the rocks. As I picked it up, I felt the bag move and I gently poured out the water inside, and would you believe a small little fish swam out? I literally saved a fishie!”
She said it was a moment she would never forget and something she kept in mind when doing beach clean-ups.
In 2021, Ms Prinsloo was voted as one of the Top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders, an initiative by the African Wildlife Foundation, the World Wide Fund for Nature, the African Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Association and the World Organisation of the Scouts Movement that recognises the contribution of African youth in addressing environmental challenges.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis also posted a message on Facebook this year, thanking Ms Prinsloo for her work.
To join a beach clean-up, email Ms Prinsloo at email@example.com