CST researchers Dr Nadia Sitas and Dr Maike Hamann join a collaborative team of researchers and practitioners from WildOceans (a programme of the WildTrust), the School of Built Environment & Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to understand the root causes, and multiple impacts of plastic pollution in the Port of Durban.

The project, funded by the Water Research Commission is entitled: Building social-ecological resilience for Durban Bay and its connected water catchment areas: a participatory modelling and multi-disciplinary action research approach. It builds on the WildOceans Blue Port project and responds to the worsening ecological and socio-economic impacts of plastic pollution in the Port, especially following extreme weather events.

The project seeks to improve the resilience of the Durban Bay area, by inclusive co-development and implementation of strategic interventions that restore ecological health and functioning, and protect valuable ecosystem services and livelihoods.

Project activities centre on improving catchment-scale coordination of activities by bringing together a wide range of multi-sector stakeholders to co-identify key issues, challenges, and opportunities for collective action. Dr Sitas and Dr Hamann are responsible for co-developing a social-ecological systems understanding of the complex issues related to plastic pollution through participatory mapping with key Port and catchment stakeholders, and exploring the key social-ecological relationships, feedbacks and dynamics linked to plastic pollution in the catchment.

Photo Credit: www.saambr.org.za