Top pollutants on beaches

2019-02-21 06:00
=Plastic pollution in the ocean affects all forms of sea life. This seabird starved to death with its stomach full of plastics. Plastic is not digestible, so the bird’s stomach is full, whilst the bird stays hungry but cannot eat. The same happens with fish and whales.       Photo:SUPPLIED

=Plastic pollution in the ocean affects all forms of sea life. This seabird starved to death with its stomach full of plastics. Plastic is not digestible, so the bird’s stomach is full, whilst the bird stays hungry but cannot eat. The same happens with fish and whales. Photo:SUPPLIED

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THE results of the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up, which annually took place during September have been released and once again,the biggest pollutants are broken down plastic and foam pieces.

“The main cause of litter on our beaches and in the marine environment is irresponsible human behaviour. The improper disposal of waste and a lack of waste management infrastructure are the two biggest issues that need to be addressed and corrected,” said John Kieser, Sustainability Manager of Plastics SA and Western Cape ICC coordinator of this annual event.

“During the 2018 event, 19 563 volunteers collected 241 425 items nationally in audited clean-ups that took place along the country’s 2 500km long coastline.”

Although this is the official figure, many more volunteers removed many more kilograms of litter at unaudited clean-ups that took place throughout South Africa and throughout the month of September.

Top pollutants on our beaches

According to Kieser, the most recent results showed that the biggest pollutants on South Africa’s beaches are:

. Broken down plastic and foam pieces

. Cigarette butts

. Bottle caps

. Food wrappers (chip packets & sweet wrappers)

. Glass pieces

. Beverage bottles

. Straws and lolly sticks

Asthma pumps were the most prolific medical items found in the three Cape provinces, whilst in Kwazulu-Natal it was disposable syringes.

Irresponsible human behaviour

Kieser added that the increase in the amount of disposable diapers found illegally dumped (especially around informal settlements) was another area of concern.

Nationally, approximately 2,5km of rope/string and 2,8km of monofilament line (fishing line) were also removed.

(Issued: Plastics SA)

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