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Environmentalist and freediver Zandi the Mermaid collaborates with POLO Purpose for World Oceans Day

 Zandile Ndhlovu, affectionately known as Zandi the Mermaid, teams up with POLO Purpose to raise awareness around plastic waste for World Oceans Day. 

POLO Purpose – an initiative by POLO South Africa – supports social and environmental transformation. In an effort to promote conscious consumption, it recently collaborated with conservationist and social activist, Zandile Ndhlovu for a campaign to raise awareness around this crucial issue. 

“We started POLO Purpose with the understanding that we have a responsibility to the planet and people,” says POLO South Africa Creative Director, Alia Peer. “There is much debate within the fashion industry on what is most sustainable. The reality is that our unhealthy relationship with fast fashion and the easy disposal of clothes has led to a landfill crisis in Africa, and unprecedented microplastic pollution. It’s real, and it’s right on our doorstep.” 

One of the ways POLO South Africa is moving towards more responsible fashion is in its production process – by using 100% locally farmed merino wool in some of its garments as a natural, biodegradable alternative to polyester. “We try to create in harmony with nature,” Alia explains. 

The fashion industry’s dependence on synthetic materials, coupled with overproduction has led to immense environmental damage that is fueling climate change. “At POLO, we believe we have to work beyond industries and strive harder to find solutions. We are dependent on the natural resources around us for our basic human needs and our daily consumer choices have impact. We want to tackle the environmental challenges and find solutions with like-minded partners and build towards a better future.” 

As part of the wider campaign, Zandile and POLO Purpose collaborated on a short film, titled “The Voice of the Sea” which demonstrates the catastrophic effects of plastic waste, particularly on our oceans. The film explores its pervasiveness and the extent to which our over reliance on plastic is causing massive environmental degradation. 

POLO South Africa chose to collaborate with Zandile on account of her strong and vocal advocacy of the ocean. The first black female freediver in South Africa is passionate about raising awareness around protecting it and uses her platform to promote coastal justice and ocean conservation through The Black Mermaid Foundation. “It’s easy to forget the role we can play as individuals in making the world a better place,” she says. The film highlights the end-of-life of our products, littering the ocean floor or piling up in mountains of waste at landfills. “Each and every one of us leaves a mark behind. It’s in our power to make the world a little better for the next person. We are all part of one ecosystem, whether you’re on land, or beneath the surface of the water,” Zandile adds. 

Creating change and having an impact starts with being mindful of our everyday choices and asking questions. Trading convenience in an effort to consume more intentionally. “We have to choose the sea, we have to choose the planet. We have to choose the future generations. I read something that said, ‘It’s just one plastic ’said seven billion people,” she adds. 

The campaign extends to an activation at the V&A Waterfront shopping centre from 28 May to 3 June that includes a screening of the film, as well as an exhibition space demonstrating the effects of plastic waste on aquatic ecosystems. Exhibiting in the week ahead of World Oceans Day, the initiative aims to raise awareness of this environmental crisis and, in so doing encourage consumers to more carefully and consciously consider their plastic use. 

For media queries, interviews or more information, contact 

Find images here, and the teaser for the film here. 

Video credits: 

Videographer: Ruan Kotze 

Direction: POLO South Africa 

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