An estimated 150 people gathered at Gansbaai harbour to participate in International Coastal Clean Up Day, a global movement started over thirty-five 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. Each area has a different signature in terms of what washes up, and all items collected are documented to assess the issues that may arise. In South Africa, Plastics ǀ SA collates all information, and this is fed into the global stats held by Ocean Conservancy who produce an annual report on the event. By bringing people together on this global day, people are also encouraged to change their behaviours around waste disposal. The 2021 ICCD in South Africa is observed under the theme: Keep Trash In The Bin And Not In The 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 Gansbaai Harbour. With everyone kitted out in their masks and with gloves and sanitiser available, the DICT team was pleased at the turn out. Attendees included Taurus Cape Kelp; ProjectSA; Gansbaai Academia’s Marine Sciences learners and RCL; the Overstrand Car Club; staff of ecotourism companies Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises; The Great White Restaurant; Marine Dynamics Academy; the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary; Masakhane Primary School; Gansbaai Primêr; Grootbos Foundation Green futures Students; and DICT’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP; as well as other dedicated supporters.
DICT’s educator Pinkey Ngewu says, “Whilst it is clear we need better waste management and education around the topic, the best we can do is to remove the trash that has an impact on our marine wildlife. When trash enters the ocean, animals mistake it for food. As an example, when a sea turtle sees a floating plastic bag, it thinks it’s a jellyfish and swallows it. The plastic bag prevents the turtle from eating and causes it to slowly starve to death. We have seen this with African penguins as well, an endangered species – in one we found a piece of cellophane. 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. Thank you very much for being part of this global clean-up day. Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality deserves a special thanks for all the logistical arrangements made to move all the waste collected.”
Final Statistics: 166 volunteers (133 Children and 33 Adults) covered 1.5 kms, and collected a total of 571 kgs of waste filling 108 bags, plus some large items including 4 big tires. The worst offender was cable tie (1083). The usual top offenders were collected plastic pieces (1128); Food Wrappers (877); Glass Pieces (479); Rope (468); Fishing Line (389); Straws/Stirrers (389); Beverage Bottles Plastic (397); Cigarette Butts (592); Bottle Caps Plastic (358). The unusual items collected were: office chair, t-shirts and bathing costumes.
Each DEEP student and everyone who attended were gifted a special cooler bag and lunch packs sponsored by the Western Cape Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. A special thanks to Taurus Cape Kelp for sponsoring water for everyone.
Ready to go
Teams split up to tackle different sections.
DEEP ready to clean the beach
Project SA Team
Taurus Cape Kelp team
Marine Dynamics Academy Volunteers and Interns
Benjamin Kondokter of Overstrand Municipality had lots to weigh
Cut these loops to prevent marine animals being entangled
The teachers at work
Adele Geldenhuys from Taurus Cape Kelp.