Aaniyah Omardien

– South Africa –

My connection to the ocean is in my blood. I come from a long lineage of ancestors that were brought to the Cape from Malaysia/Indonesia as slaves. This connection to nature is what drove me to study environmental science and after graduating with an Honours degree I worked in conservation for 10 years at WWF South Africa (while completing a Masters part-time). After leaving WWF, I consulted in the environmental sector and became a mother. In 2015 I started a voluntary group, with scientific advice from Professor Peter Ryan, that collected marine debris at our local surf break every new moon at the rocky shore at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg, Cape Town. From this I founded The Beach Co-op (TBC), a non profit company established in 2017, which emerged from these early informal gatherings. The goals for TBC are to empower coastal communities as keepers of oceans and to keep South Africa’s beaches clean and healthy.