Thousands of kids, speeding through the streets of South Africa, collect and recycle tons of plastic waste, protecting the ocean. The documentary "Street Surfers" tells their incredible story
In South Africa only 10% of all waste generated is recycled while tons of garbage end up in the ocean, contributing to marine pollution and the global environmental impact. A few months ago the local environmental activists of The Litterboom Project, a project created to shed light on the seriousness of the problem and to convince the government to take action, shot and distributed a film made in the port city of Durban. In this video we see an alarming scenario, that is hundreds of plastic and garbage bottles that float in the waves and that cover a large part of the coasts. Although the resolution of this problem still seems far away, there are involuntary heroes who make a difference every day, or the so-called street surfers.
Ride the wave of change
Thousands of people in South Africa wake up at 3am every day they travel up to 50 kilometers, wandering the streets of the cities aboard a trolley with wheels, and rummaging through the rubbish they collect plastic and other materials to be recycled. rebaptized street surfer, as they dart with elegance and at high speed on the asphalt and in the traffic, there are over 100 thousand young people who, with their daily efforts, contribute up to 90% of the country's recycling. Yet these champions of the noble environmental mission are children who struggle to survive and who live in conditions of extreme poverty, without electricity, running water and sanitation. Recycling is their only source of income. Risking their lives every day, they do their best for a cleaner ocean and a paltry gain, or around 300 rand (15 euros) per 1000 kilograms of recyclable materials collected. Society snubs them and car drivers often try to impose themselves dangerously on the road, but this does not prevent these guys from finding energy every day to go on, without ever ceasing to smile.
"Street Surfers", the documentary by environmental surfer Frank Solomon
He told us about this incredible reality Frank Solomon, professional surfer and environmental activist of Cape Town. After learning about the work of these "surfers" he decided to make a documentary on their history, called Street Surfers. In particular Solomon decided to focus on the story of two of them, Thabo Mouti and Mokete Mokete. In the video we witness, in fact, the day spent together, first around the streets of Johannesburg aboard the trolleys, then in the collection center where the bottles and collected waste are sorted by them and finally in their humble home. Despite the stories about the daily difficulties to face, these friendly and welcoming kids they transmit energy, willpower, warmth and positivity and show the importance that family and a sense of community have for them.
To thank Thabo and Mokete for the welcome and for what they are doing for our planet, Frank Solomon takes them to see the ocean for the first time, and to ride that sea that every day help to make it cleaner. The documentary ends with an emotional gaze, lost in the waves of the sea, and a positive message: "In the world we are billions of people and if each of us, every single day, even collects just a plastic waste, we could live in a completely different world .
For some months now, the South African surfer has also launched a campaign, still active, on BackaBuddy for raise funds to be donated to Thabo and Mokete, in order to provide them with food, clothes and other basic necessities.