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Turning the Tide on Trash: EBH Namibia gives the Beach a Clean Sweep
25 January 2014

  For ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia, a key element in being a responsible corporate citizen is having a positive impact on the environment in which it operates. That is why the company chose to kick start 2014 with a campaign to clean up the beaches of Walvis Bay.

True to their motto of ‘One Team, One Goal’, a total of 73 EBH Namibia employees descended on three beach sites, gathering hundreds of kilogrammes of refuse, and leaving a pristine shoreline in their wake.

EBH Namibia’s latest clean-up initiative is part of the company’s effort to promote environmental stewardship by focusing on a cleaner beach and healthier ocean.

“Dirty beaches drive away tourists, injure bathers and harm wildlife. Whether we live near a beach or hundreds of kilometres from the coastline, we all have a profound stake in an ocean that is healthy and abundant,” says Leeanne Salpeter, Commercial Administrator of EBH Namibia.

“At EBH Namibia we continuously strive to create a culture of safety, and a safe environment is one that is free of litter and toxins which pose a health risk to people, marine life, and ultimately to our economy.”

During the four hour clean-up operation, which took place on the 8th of January, the EBH volunteers managed to fill 200 refuse bags, which had been donated by the Walvis Bay Municipality. Most of the trash collected originated from land-based sources, including plastic bottles, cigarette butts, rusty tins, broken glass bottles, aluminium beverage cans, Styrofoam containers, food wrappers and plastic grocery bags.

“Plastic bags and bottles are among the top five items of debris most often found our beaches,” notes Salpeter. “Like almost all single-use disposable plastics, it tends to be used for a few seconds but lasts forever. Their durability and buoyancy make them especially harmful to marine life when washed into the ocean.”

She continues: “Other common items include broken bottles and rusty tin cans, which can be a serious hazard on a beach, posing a risk of injury while also releasing toxins as they decompose. We all deserve to walk on the beach without worrying about cutting ourselves on litter, or health risks as a result of pollution.”

Dividing the clean-up project into phases, the company systematically tackled three beach sites: the road sides north of Narraville Bridge until the end of the tree line, Dolphin Beach towards Langstrand, and Independence Beach.

“It was good to have launched our 2014 CSI (corporate social investment) agenda on a clean and healthy note, and to see EBH Namibia’s culture of co-operative teamwork in action. Our cleaner shoreline has set the tone for a year in which we will work even harder towards a healthier and safer environment for our employees and the wider Walvis Bay community,” Salpeter concludes.
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