The effects of manmade pollution on our oceans is utterly devastating and the consequences for both aquatic and terrestrial life is grave if action is not taken now. In an attempt to curb the tide on this destructive behaviour, The Ballito Pro organisers have brought back the effective Save the Waves campaign.

“This year’s World Ocean’s Day focused on ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’ and this is just so true,” explained event organiser, Collette Bundy. “The oceans provide us with 70% of our oxygen, and without a real change in our mindset and associated action, we’re costing ourselves a planet. This is why we are so committed to the Save the Waves campaign which seeks to create awareness about the hazards of plastic refuse, particularly the damage created by microplastics, and the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.”

Bundy said environmental awareness was an extremely important component to the entire event and the Save the Waves campaign is about making an impact with all festival attendees.

“There will be recycling bins allocated throughout the surf and festival areas and we are encouraging all festival-goers to participate in the programme by using the bins provided.”

Alongside the recycling campaign was the incredibly creative #SaveTheWaves surfboard design competition which encouraged entrants to craft a Groundswell surfboard for the Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong event, while also raising awareness about environmental issues affecting the ocean. Winning entrant, Dustin Scott, created an emotive design depicting a skeletal turtle trapped within a plastic bottle descending into the dirty ocean darkness. This effective design won him a R3 000 Billabong voucher as well as VIP passes to the 2017 Ballito Pro.

Reiterating the importance of recycling and healthy oceans is Ballito’s Tammy Lee Smith, former professional surfer turned environmental compliance manager. While still pursuing her big wave surf dream, Smith is a dedicated environmentalist, spreading the message of conservation in the corporate world and public sector through her organisation, Sims Recycling Solutions. Smith has also entered the Ballito Women’s Pro pres. by Billabong which is taking place on the 1 and 2 July.

Her five main reasons for recycling are:

1. Recycling is a problem for the entire human race. Accumulation of waste brings devastating effects on the environment and adds to the global warming issue through the increase of greenhouse gasses.

2. It creates jobs because recycling is a labour-intensive industry involving collection, sorting and processing waste.

3. Recycling conserves natural resources and reduces the pressure applied to these resources drastically. Statistics according to the Paper Recycling Association of SA indicate that every metric ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees and uses 40 percent less energy, and 50 percent less water. Recycling all household paper or cardboard saves an annual 750 000 cubic metres of landfill space and R60 million a year in collection and landfill costs while saving enough energy to provide electricity to 512 homes for a year.

4. Waste makes you sick because poor disposal and accumulation of landfill waste leads to the emission of harmful and infectious gasses which cause respiratory diseases. Toxic liquids draining from landfills enter water systems, causing outbreaks of disease.

5. It’s free!

In addition to the ongoing recycling and environmental campaign, the Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong has an incredible fun-filled programme of festival events. The festival programme is anchored around the international surfing contest, with Casio the official timekeeper of the Ballito Pro.