Help clean beaches of plastic trash

2017-09-14 06:00
<Plastic bottles, bottle caps and earbuds are the main trash on beaches.       Photo:HEILIE COMBRINCK

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Scientists estimate that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. This means that soon there will be one kilogram of plastic for every three kilograms of fish in the ocean.

So be aware. Each time you drop a plastic item in the street, that item will end up in a stormwater drain, then flows into a river and eventually ends up in the ocean or on a beach.

“When plastic floats at sea its surface gets colonised by algae within days or weeks, a process known as biofouling.

“Fish then confuse this plastic for an edible substance because these microplastics in the oceans pick up a covering of the biological material, such as algae which mimics the smell of food,” says Matthew Savoca, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Plastic debris has become the most serious problem affecting marine life. Not only because floating plastic particles accumulate toxic pollutants, but also because these particles are indigestible and accumulate in the stomachs of birds and fish. These creatures eventually will starve to death!

Beach clean-up events this Saturday

International Coastal Clean-Up Day will be held on Saturday, September 16th.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), Algoa Bay Hope Spot and several other role-players have organised beach clean-up events along the beaches in and around the Bay.

Last year, with the assistance of the public, around 8 tons of rubbish were collected from local beaches.

“Waste and plastic pollution is one of the major threats to the oceans worldwide. Beach clean-ups are helping remarkably in reducing the amount of trash in the seas and the risks for animals to get entangled or ingest plastic,” said Dr Lorien Pichegru from the institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University.

Where to help clean-up a beach

. King’s Beach: meet 09:30 on the beach next to the Surf Life Saving Club. Organised by WESSA and the Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards. Gloves and rubbish bags provided. Contact: Tim Douglas-Jones 082 775 8816.

. Sardinia Bay: meet from 08:00 on the Sardinia Bay Beach parking lot. Organised by Aurecon. Gloves and bags provided. Contact: Kelly Levendal 084 982 0285.

.Blue Water Bay: meet at 09:00 at the BWB swimming beach, at the bottom of Weinronk Way. Organised by the Zwartkops Conservancy. Bags provided but bring gloves. Contact: Jenny Rump 082 853 0700.

.Blue Horizon Bay: meet at 09:00 at the car park. Organised by the local community. Bring bags/gloves.

.Cape Recife: meet at 09:30 at Cape Recife lighthouse. Organised by Raggy Charters. Bring bags/gloves. Contact: Raggy Charters 073 152 2277.

.Seaview: meet at 09:30 at the taxi terminus, as you come to Seaview from Kini Bay, in front of the first houses. Organised by Raggy Charters. Bring bags/gloves. Contact: Lloyd Edwards 084 552 2277.

.Maitlands Beach: meet at 09:30 at the car park. Organised by the Algoa Bay Hope Spot Initiative. Bring bags/gloves. Contact: Lorien Pichegru 078 844 3863.

Help - take a pic - you might win a whale watching trip

Stand a chance to win a boat trip with Raggy Charters by sending a picture of what you personally collected to

The person collecting most trash will win a whale-watching cruise in Algoa Bay.

New ocean sciences campus

The new Ocean Sciences campus is going to be launched on the 22nd of September.

A very exciting event for Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth and marine science in Africa!


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