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Article by Plastics SA 25 March 2013

Nampak sponsors Adventurer to swim Orange River to raise awareness of pollution

Self-confessed adventure junkie and Cape Town resident, Ray D. Chaplin (32 years, [Status]) will be attempting a feat have thought possible when he sets off on Easter Sunday to complete the second longest riverboarding expedition of all time.

Chaplin, a computer network engineer by profession, will be riverboarding the entire length (2 300 kms, [Status]) of the Orange River, South Africa’s longest river, from source to sea in an attempt to raise awareness of South Africa’s water quality and the threat of water pollution.

“I hope to have completed my mission within 5 months and reach Alexander Bay in time for my girlfriend’s birthday on the 2nd of August,” he says.  According to Chaplin, he will be swimming solo without any support or back up team to assist him. Instead, he will only be relying on his 3 mm wetsuit and tiny “plastics” riverboard for safety and the kindness of local farmers and communities to resupply his food and water along the journey.
“I will be starting my swim at the source of the Orange River high up in the Maluti mountains on the eastern border of Lesotho, and hope to cover approximately 20 kms per day,” Chaplin says.

When asked what some of the dangers are that he will be facing, Chaplin says flash floods, snakes, insect bites and the threat of drowning are his major concerns. “However, these threats are nothing in comparison to the threat our marine environment is facing due of pollution”, Chaplin says. “Thanks to the financial support of institutions such as Plastics|SA and Nampak Rigid Plastics who are sponsoring my quest, I am able to convey the message to people around the world that what we are doing inland ultimately has an effect on the water sources around the country. Trash travels to the ocean by way of storm drains and waterways, ending up in our country’s rivers before making its way to the ocean. This entire fragile network is connected. Even litter that falls from our hands hundreds of kilometers away, eventually finds its way to the ocean”.

“Ray’s efforts and message echo the mission of Plastics|SA’s Cleanup and recycle “Berg2Beach” campaign which aims to encourage hikers, mountaineers, fishermen, canoeists, kayakers and divers to ensure that our country is clean and green by showing a commitment and support of the plastics industry”, says Douw Steyn, Director: Sustainability of Plastics|SA.

“Like so many sports people out there, Ray will be relying on plastics to practice his sport. From his riverboard to his helmet, wetsuit and fins – everything is made from plastics. However, we also have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and green in order to ensure the sustainability and beauty of our environment for many generations to come”.

Ray will be giving regular updates on his progress via Facebook (www.facebook.com/raychaplin, [Status]) and Twitter (@raychaplin, [Status]). Back to top ^