The Overstrand Municipality is working in partnership with Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust to minimise waste from reaching the ocean through implementing storm drain catchment nets. 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 pollution originating from a central point in town, and so Project Storm was started in 2019. The project has been successful and carries an education component with the Overstrand Municipality placing education signs at all drains that reads “Don’t Litter. The Sea Starts Here.”
Hawston, a suburb of Hermanus in the Western Cape, will now have one of these nets that will minimise waste reaching the Paddavlei. The Paddavlei is a fragile wetland that is being impacted by pollution and reed overgrowth. Minimising waste reaching this system, as well as the planned reed removal, will bring much needed balance to this ecosystem. In acknowledgement of World Environmental Day on 5 June, and in collaboration with valued conservation partners Whale Coast Conservation and Paddavlei Eco Group (PEG), the Hawston Cadets begun the placement of the educational stencils.
Overstrand Municipality’s Senior Environmental Manager, Liezl de Villiers said, “The project requires time, energy, and funding and we were negatively affected in 2020 but we can now pick this project up again and both parties are committed to its growth. The Municipality will play a main role in the clearing of these nets as part of waste management. We will also make some funding available for this project.”
The Kleinmond Conservation Group has also offered extra hands and is looking at some of their problems storm drains and they hope to soon have a couple of nets up in their area.
Wilfred had this to say about Project Storm, “We hope that through this project we can minimise the impact on our wildlife by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system, as well as use the statistics to educate the public of the impact poorly discarded trash has on the ecosystem. I am also so glad that we have the incredible support of the Overstrand Municipality to jointly work on such projects.
The net at Gansbaai harbour was monitored by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust team with the support of Marine Dynamics Academy to assess the ‘catch’. After only 17 analysed net counts, and 141.55 kg of waste collected, the statistics were frightening with cigarette filters being a top offending item at 33875. This was followed by food wrappers/containers 12389 that included non-recyclable chip packets. Brands were also reviewed for informational purposes. Plastic bottles (188) and cans (127) were prominent items found in the net.
The storm net project has created much interest across South Africa and will be the focus of a marine pollution roadshow from Cape Town to Durban in August that the Dyer Island Conservation Trust will be doing with Plastics|SA. All items for the International Coastal Clean Up Day, held annually in September, will be handed out at the same time along with fishing line bins, another collaborative project with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Overstrand Municipality.
Interested companies can sponsor the manufacture of a net for an estimated R5000 and can get in touch with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust to do so. The storm nets will be mapped on the Trust website so each company will be acknowledged for their contribution in this way. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust in Gansbaai is grateful to have recently received a grant through the National Lotteries Commission, a portion of which is allocated to two storm nets, that includes the one placed in Hawston.
Overstrand Municipality, Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Whale Coast Conservation, CapeNature working together
Funded by National Lotteries Commission
Storm water drain
Defend our wetlands
World Environmental Day – Liezl De Villiers
Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation becoming a master at stencil painting