Environmental lobby groups are calling on people to play their part to keep beaches clean and help save sea life.
The City of Cape Town recorded its busiest beach day on Saturday 8 January with thousands of people flocking to beaches around the city to take advantage of the warm weather.
Greg Player, founder of Cape Town Beach Clean-up, says everyone has a role to play to ensure the ocean stays litter-free.
Cape Town Beach Clean-up is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that aims to keep beaches clean and educate people on the importance of the environment.
According to Player, some of the main sources of litter on beaches are dirty rivers that spill into the ocean and beachgoers who don’t remove their empty bottles and packets when they leave the beach.
“We had an incredibly busy beach clean-up in January. There were thousands of people on the beaches. We normally collect about 200 or more bags of litter during our monthly clean-ups.”
Player says ocean pollution should not be taken lightly.
“It’s important to keep our beaches clean and safe for our kids and animals that go to the beach, and by doing that we are keeping the litter and plastic out of the ocean and keeping our sea life – like seals, dolphins, whales and fish – safe. It has been proven that they have been eating the material floating in the ocean.”
Player says their 2022 clean-up started at 11 beaches, which included Sea Point, Strandfontein, Monwabisi, Fish Hoek and Big Bay.
He says they collected 157 bags which weighed about 558kg.
He says people can help by making litter removal an everyday habit.
“When you go to the beach, take everything back with you and get into the habit of recycling because the materials can just be reused instead of it landing up on landfills.
“If you are walking around a park or on the beach, just get into the habit of picking that litter up and throwing it away.”
The City of Cape Town’s transport directorate is also calling on residents to do their bit to keep pollution out of the stormwater infrastructure and says residents must get rid of waste in a responsible manner.
Rob Quintas, Mayco member for transport, says the purpose of a stormwater system is to carry away excess rain.
“Once the rainfall flows through the opening of the storm sewer, it travels through underground pipes such as conduits and culverts and other infrastructure to the ocean or nearby ponds, canals or rivers.”
Quintas says while the City is responsible for monitoring stormwater infrastructure and facilities, they cannot do it alone.
“Stormwater infrastructure must be well maintained and cleared to prevent roads from overflowing. Only run-off after rainfall events should end up in the stormwater drains. Nothing else. Thus, no greywater, or waste, should be dumped into our stormwater drains.
According to Quintas, the cleaning of infrastructure takes place regularly.
“When rain or water hits hard surfaces like pavements and road surfaces it creates stormwater run-off, which picks up whatever is dumped on hard surfaces.
“The run-off drains into the underground stormwater infrastructure.
“This run-off is not treated and drains into the sea. Thus it is up to each of us to keep it as clean as possible and not to dump or pollute.”
Player encourages people to join them on their monthly beach clean-ups.
“If businesses, schools or churches want to get involved with any clean-ups, then they are welcome to contact us and we will be happy to facilitate them.”