On 2 January of this year I adopted a stream near the Camps Bay Tidal Pool, having seen it clogged up with plastic and other rubbish left by picnickers on the infamous New Year’s Day. Since then I visit the stream every day, to clean it up, removing all the rubbish from it. A week ago Straatwerk workers assisted me in removing all the water weeds that had grown in the stream, and the rubbish that was trapped underneath the plants, returning the stream into its beautiful former self, an asset for Camps Bay and other Capetonians. Response to a request from locals for support in cleaning up the stream when they go for a walk in Camps Bay, on the Camps Bay Neighbourly Facebook page, was good in terms of the number of Likes, but I never saw anyone else cleaning it up. I tried to get assistance from the City of Cape Town Parks Department staff cleaning up other sections of the Camps Bay beachfront, as well as its Cleansing staff. Laurentia was very keen, and I have seen her regularly, promising to take the stream under her wing too. 

Within a period of a week the water weeds took over the stream, growing at a very rapid rate. I spent one morning pulling them out at the top end, but it was a huge job to remove everything. By chance I noticed a Beach Clean-up sign outside the Seeff Camps Bay offices, and went inside to find out more. I was referred to Rowena Childes, the Marketing Co-ordinator of Seeff Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl. She explained that they sponsor Straatwerk, a community project which keeps disadvantaged persons off the streets, by finding them shelters to live in, and an opportunity to earn some income. Seeff sponsors the beach clean-up project on the Atlantic Seaboard, the Straatwerk team tackling different beaches in Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point, and Mouille Point, for a period of four hours on
weekend days in summer. 

Rowena offered me the Straatwerk team of Mario, Norman, and Kassie, for last Saturday, and I met them with their supervisor Peter at the Seeff Camps Bay offices. We went across the road, so that I could show them the stream. All of us got stuck in, and I was impressed with how thoroughly the team worked, in removing every last bit of weed and rubbish in the stream, which flows into the ocean, the rubbish endangering fish and other marine life. Within two hours the stream looked as fabulous as I had first seen it last year, when I observed a family of Egyptian Geese drinking from it. The team filled 30 bags of weeds and rubbish, which they tied up and placed next to the municipal bins on the Victoria Road pavement. I could see the pride of the team in their work, Norman telling me that he loves animals and the environment. 

The benefit of the stream clean-up was evident immediately, with children of a picnicking family playing inside it as soon as we were done. 

I was so grateful that the stream looked so beautiful, and that the Straatwerk team had done such an excellent job, that I invited them to Maison J, where they each had a cappuccino and a croissant, the latter an absolute luxury for them. Maison J kindly discounted the treat. 

It is rare to see a business like Seeff being so community-conscious, and giving back to the area in which it operates. On behalf of Camps Bay, a huge thank you to Seeff, Straatwerk, and to Maison J. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein