GenPoint provides businesses and individuals with software systems that gather, track, and assist with analysing data. With our 5th birthday approaching, we decided to celebrate it with an unusual activity. They say the greatest gift in this world is to give, not to receive, so with this in mind we decided to join the initiative Clean Blue Lagoon, in Durban North, clearing the area of litter and pollutants. Being that data analytics is our passion, we decided to put our own software to the test by categorising and analysing the rubbish we collect to create an educational infographic.
The role of infographics
Infographics are a vital part of understanding the world we live in, whether you are in a corporate business setting, or a relief worker trying to make sense of the world. An infographic is a way of displaying information that is potentially very complex, making it simpler to understand and absorb. In business, infographics give us insight into consumer demands, trends, and profit growth, giving us the power to make business decisions that are calculated, leading to better outcomes.
Our Clean Blue Lagoon infographic would reveal which items of pollution are most commonly found and with time and further studies, we could track a trend, either by location or by times of the year. For example, litter would probably be more prolific following holidays and festive seasons. Litter might also be more common in areas like parks, at riversides, or near the beach. This is all data we would eventually like to gather, through more clean up initiatives.
GenPoint and Clean Blue Lagoon’s clean up
We were inspired by other beach and nature clean up initiatives, like Durbanites Against Plastic Pollution, who are doing a lot for our local beaches and oceans. We decided to join the group Clean Blue Lagoon, as they’re committing themselves to the Blue Lagoon region’s Beachwood Mangroves and surrounds.
We were astonished at how much litter could be gathered from the area!
GenPoint’s data team members, Joan and Bianca, traveled to the meetup point at Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve. The event was to run from 8am to 11am and our ladies made sure to arrive before 8. The idea of the clean up is that volunteers could come and spend as much time as they could afford to give, whether it was 2 hours or 30 minutes.
The big clean up
To Joan and Bianca’s surprise, there were a number of volunteers out there collecting rubbish before 8 AM! Community spirit was strong, everyone was recognisable in their bright orange T-shirts (which were sponsored by Genpoint), and everyone involved carried yellow bin liners to fill with rubbish. Joan and Bianca came well-prepared for a hard day’s work, complete with hat, sunscreen, and an eagerness to work.
They pegged a 20 sqm area and laid out a large plastic sheet. Then the hard work began, picking up the rubbish and placing it on the sheet. It took the two ladies 2,5 hours with no breaks to clean up that small designated area.
The next step was for Joan and Bianca to start sorting the rubbish into piles of predefined categories. Once the various types of litter were sorted and counted, it could be bagged according to its category. It was especially straining to collect and count each tiny piece of polystyrene that was found. There was an alarming amount collected!
The predefined litter categories we chose for our infographic included:
The results of our clean up can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2v17NnE
How an infographic can aid clean up initiatives and prevent pollution
We are hoping to do many more clean up activities like this, all of which will have data that are gathered and stored. It would be incredibly valuable to compare trends, both month on month and year on year to see whether the plastic problem is growing or shrinking. It would also be enlightening to see at which times of the year, in which locations, and what types of trash cause a ‘trend’ in pollution.
Understanding this could help us find the most eco-sustainable alternatives to lighten the burden we are placing on our natural regions. Right now there is such a rage against straws, which is fantastic, but are straws the greatest culprit? It would be of more help to wage war against the primary pollutant. Research like this would tell us what the culprit is.
Please view our infographic and share this information: