Blue Flag Beach Programme in partnership with DICT

November 15, 2011 by dyertrust

Katja Vinding Petersen and fishing line binThe Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) in association with Overstrand Municipality, Gansbaai Administration established the Fishing Line Recovery Program (FLRP) in 2010 along the Gansbaai shoreline, with specially designed disposal bins. This innovative project aims to reduce the severe environmental damage caused by discarded fishing line on our coastline. Monofilament fishing line is non-biodegradable and enters the marine environment where it entangles wildlife, is mistakenly ingested by birds and animals, resulting in injury or death, and is also hazardous to boaters and swimmers.

By increasing public awareness about the negative impacts that fishing line debris has on marine life, water quality, and human welfare, DICT hopes to reduce the amount of fishing line entering and remaining in the marine environment, as well as to increase the amount of fishing line being recycled. Anglers and beach walkers are encouraged to recycle or dispose of their used fishing line at these bins.

Blue flag logoDICT was recently approached by Ted Knott, WESSAs National Coastal Project manager and National Blue Flag Co-Ordinator, to place these bins alongside all Blue Flag Beaches. Blue Flag is an international annual award given to beaches that meet excellence in the areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness, environmental information and environmental management. The Blue Flag programme is currently run in over 40 countries globally and interest in the programme continues to grow. There are now almost 4,000 Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world. In South Africa, the programme is co-ordinated by WESSA, and it is placed within the National Coastal Project, which in turn resides within WESSAs Water Programme. WESSA has 4 Programmatic Themes Biodiversity; Energy; Waste and Water. WESSA is celebrating its 85th Anniversary this year as a pro-active environmental NGO acting on behalf of the public, and aims to promote People Caring for the Earth (for more information on WESSA, visit www.wessa.org.za).

At WESSAs official announcement of beaches awarded South African Blue Flag status 27 in all DICT was given the opportunity to present our work and hand over two bins for each beach. This exciting development was supported by the donation from the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association and DPI Plastics, arranged by John Kieser of Plastics SA. The material was enough to make 100 bins.

dyer island cruises boatIn addition, the whale-watching boat Whale Whisperer, of the Dyer Island Conservation Trusts eco tourism partner Dyer Island Cruises, has received a pilot Blue Flag, for the environmentally sensitive manner in which it undertakes its activities.