Whale bin gobbling ocean plastic in Noordhoek

Posted on 27 January 2020

A whale made from wire is functioning as an unusual dirt bin on Noordhoek beach. The artistic creation has been dubbed Kakapo and is there to encourage walkers to pick up plastic and other rubbish that have washed ashore and pop it in Kakapo’s blowhole.

The initiative is the brainchild of environmental activist Karoline Hanks, who is the founder of Single Use Plastic Alternatives (Supa) and has been involved in (among other initiatives) encouraging beachgoers to pick up their dogs’ poop.

The whale bin project is an extension of Project Noordhoeked, which is a community funded project that employs two guys who clean the roadsides, common and beach – keeping it free of plastic and dog poo.

According to Hanks, ‘We have been managing it for over 6 months, and in that time, have set up 5 dog poo worm composting bins (two and the beach, one in the Beach area housing area and two on the common). The motivation for this was to keep plastic out of the system, and to encourage dog walkers to pick up after themselves, using the upcycled bottles (made into scoops) or the compostable bags we provide.’

Hanks’ team then makes compost out of the dog poo, which diverts it from landfill and ‘eliminates plastic from the equation’.

The whale has been in place for a couple of months according to Hanks and the wire bin was designed so that the whale’s mouth can open. So far 22 garbage bags full of waste have been ‘removed from her belly’.

The whale design was inspired by something similar that Hanks saw ‘photo from the Far East somewhere’. She said that the beautiful whale was made by, ‘an amazing guy called Innocent, in Simon’s Town.’

‘It’s amazing to see… Everyone is so positive, you know young people adding a bag – we’ve got an honesty box with upcycled bags – taking a bag, filling it up and putting the bag back,’ Hanks told Pippa Hudson on Cape Talk radio.

The bin is the first of its kind as part of Hanks’ Kapako project but she says that she has been in discussion with the City of Cape Town and there’s a possibility that this kind of whale bin will be placed around more of the city’s beaches.

Image: Unsplash

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