I would like to submit a response to a letter penned by Ian Oertel, published in the Sun dated 20 July and headlined ‘Circus protesters should focus on polluting anglers’.
I have never written to the newspaper before but I feel I need to offer a response to Ian’s letter. There’s a first time for everything.
I don’t know you, and I don’t you think you know me. If you did, you might have known I have assisted Toti Conservancy on numerous occasions with setting up their ‘fishing line’ collection points installed along the beaches, which has been highly successful to date. This excludes my random outbursts and educational discussions I have had with anglers along the beach. The usual ‘pick up after yourself please’ type of discussion.
I am almost certain if you knew me, you would be aware that I spearheaded a large clean-up of the Amanzimtoti and Little Amanzimtoti rivers, spending an estimated combined total of 100 weeks or more, with the assistance of a couple hundred people to boot. The same river that the municipality and people gave up hope on, as the mammoth clean-up task seemed unachievable. We still continue to monitor the rivers and have been asked to assist with other river clean-ups along the KZN coastline since.
I am confident that if you really knew me, you would be aware that we have done plenty of beach clean-ups, some our own, some with other groups like Clean Surf Project, KZN Beach Cleanups, Toti Conservancy, WESSA and many other organisations. Our biggest haul to date was close on 1,000 black bags of rubbish pulled out at Isipingo Beach over three weeks. If you don’t believe me, ask the Amanzimtoti Golf Club. They donated the black bags.
Incase you missed the follow up: War of words rages over circus’ visit to Amanzimtoti
If we were officially acquainted, you would know I have been cleaning litter from the streets of Toti for many years, even running a programme called ‘Service for Supplies’, employing homeless and unemployed people to clean up the streets and then compensating them with money, clothes and food in return. You can ask many of the local car guards for references.
If we were friends, you would probably have joined us at our extreme tree planting event, where over 100 indigenous trees were planted across Toti in one day. Since then, we have planted many, many more. You will see the white protective plastic cones embedded into the base of the trees as proof.
Ian, I am pretty sure the reason we don’t know each other is that I have never seen you at any of these community events since we started many years ago. If you had attended, I am sure we wouldn’t be writing each other letters.
Come join one of the community projects, there is a first time for everything.
Maybe you could even start a group aimed at cleaning up the litter on the rocks. Send me the link, I promise to join.
Check out the protest gallery: Amanzimtoti rallies for Mclaren Circus protest
About the circus animals, if you don’t consider stuffing a lion or tiger into a tiny cage, transporting it around the country, and demanding that it performs at the crack of a whip for human entertainment and monetary gains as abuse in itself, we cannot be friends.
– SHAUN CALLAGHAN
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