International Coastal Clean Up Day is a global movement started over thirty years ago by the Ocean Conservancy. This is a day when the concerned citizens of the world gather to clean the coastline of human generated trash. This trash and debris are documented for statistics to help identify the type of litter, possible sources, and motivate suggested changes for manufacturers that might help reduce different types of waste. Plastics ǀ SA collates all information, and this is fed into the global statistics held by Ocean Conservancy. By bringing people together on this global day, people are also encouraged to change behaviours around litter. The theme for 2020 is: TRASH FREE OCEAN.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) is committed to reducing marine pollution through regular beach clean ups, fishing line bins and storm drain catchment nets. The main goal for the Trust is to mitigate the impact on marine animals. The Trust is partnered with the Overstrand Municipality for these projects and for International Coastal Clean-up day, a joint clean-up was arranged at Danger Point. Every area has a different signature in terms of what washes up and this area is not generally visited by the public so much of the waste is washing up on the beach.
With everyone kitted out in their masks and with gloves and sanitiser available, the DICT team was pleased at the turn out. Attendees included Councillor Riana de Coning; Liezel van der Westhuizen who even gave the clean up a mention on KFM; VW car Club Distraction; the Overstrand Car Club; staff of ecotourism companies Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises; the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary; and DICT’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP; as well as other dedicated supporters.
DICT’s educator Pinkey Ngewu says, “The trash in the water impacts the world on many levels, including harming wildlife, humans, and impacting the livelihood of those who work on the ocean. It causes economic damage by affecting tourism and recreation and the money this bring into those communities that are on the ocean shore. Beach Clean Up’s raise public awareness about the threats of debris and make us mindful of how we dispose of our litter. People feel a sense of satisfaction after a clean-up and it is a perfect family bonding opportunity too. Remember you are not too small or too old to make a difference. I would like to give a special thanks to Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality for all the logistical arrangements, Nico van Schalkwyk for moving all the waste collected, and everyone who assisted with this big clean up.”
With applied social distancing and masks, 71 volunteers covered 2 kms, and collected a total of 160kgs of waste filling 32 bags, plus some large items. The worst offender was a big blue crate. The usual top offenders were collected – Plastic Bottle Caps (658), Plastic Pieces (588), Glass Pieces (470), Foam Pieces (289). A large amount of building wood pieces was also found.
Each DEEP student and some of the children that attended were given a specially painted rock by the Overberg Rocks project.