July 05, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Inspired by a project in Australia, Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics Tours and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, realised the need for a net system over the storm water drain outlets in Gansbaai. The first identified site was Gansbaai Harbour, an area notorious for plastic pollution and a prime spot to test the efficacy of the net and attachment design. The first net design was sponsored by Marine Dynamics and project leaders Hennie Otto (Marine Dynamics) and Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality placed the net on World Oceans Day 8 June. It was tested during a rainstorm but tore due to a design flaw in the oyster net used. Wilfred and Hennie then approached Ian Wessels of Wildegans Fishery who kindly donated the sardine purse seine net and stitching work required and this was placed on Plastic Bag Free Day 3 July. The nets are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by storm water from the local road network, from flowing into the marine environment.
Wilfred had this to say about the project, “We noted the pollution from the storm water drain in the Gansbaai harbour, whilst on a clean-up. The outlet leads straight to nearby rock pools and into the ocean. The kelp that traps some of the waste makes it difficult to clean and this too is ultimately washed out to sea. We have been doing cleans up for twenty years and 80% of the waste is plastic. Dyer Island Conservation Trust is the first port of call for marine animal rescues and strandings in the Gansbaai area and we have witnessed first-hand the impact on our marine wildlife. We hope that through this project we can minimise this impact by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system. Unfortunately, most of the waste will probably not be suitable for recycling, but we will do this where possible. This is a worldwide problem and our dream is to roll this out in the Overstrand and in South Africa.”
The net will be monitored by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust team over the next few months to assess the ‘catch’. With 63 storm water outlets in Gansbaai alone, this project will be a long-term collaborative effort with the Overstrand Municipality, with an initial focus on the most problematic areas. There will be costs in manufacture and ongoing management. Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust are committed to this project and have made applications for grant funding. The Trust hopes to turn trash into treasure with art works and educational displays.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Overstrand Municipality are partners in various project that includes environmental education, beach clean ups, fishing line bins, animal rescue and more.