The Peninsula Paddle took place on 4 October 2020.This year, UCT’s Future Water Institute, in partnership with Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET), Friends of the Liesbeek, Khayelitsha Canoe Club, Zandvlei Trust, WISA and the City of Cape Town, continued to raise awareness of the plight of the Cape’s waterways calling citizens of Cape Town to take notice and change their habits.
Founded in 2010, the Peninsula Paddle began as a challenge between four friends to see if they could paddle from Muizenberg to Milnerton through the city’s urban waterways. This proved to be a difficult task as they often found their way blocked by solid waste or overgrown weeds. Through this initial paddle, they coined the phrase “the health of the city is seen in its waterways”. There are major challenges at the heart of the litter problem which will not be solved overnight, or even by a decade long paddle, but it’s a start. With such a disconnect between citizens of Cape Town and their environment little thought is given to the consequences of litter and other waste, and therein lies the problem. It is hoped that with raising awareness around the Peninsula Paddle and spreading the message, we can really show people what beautiful assets urban rivers can be and how they can benefit every single citizen of Cape Town and not just be a conduit for waste and pollution. Dr Kevin Winter has a dream, “Imagine a city where citizens could safely traverse its waterways in clean water and where the surrounding rivers and canalised banks offer safe, pleasant public spaces”.
The route for the Peninsula Paddle was specifically chosen to highlight the socio-economic disparity within the City of Cape Town, while showing that we are all connected to the city’s waterways. In connecting people to waterways, the spatial and economic divisions in the city can be bridged by these blue and green corridors running through the city. The theme for this year’s Peninsula Paddle is “The tragic journey of litter in our waterways”. A short video documenting the paddle has been produced and can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrGD1QOPFzo