Several coastal clean-ups were initiated in the Overstrand during Cleanup and Recycling Week SA from 16 – 21 September, and especially on International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD) on Saturday 21 September.
Recycling Week is an annual initiative started in 1996 by the plastics industry and Ezemvelo/KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife. International Coastal Cleanup Day was launched more than 30 years ago in the US by Linda Maraniss and Kathy O’Hara, who worked for Ocean Conservancy. The event has grown immensely since then, with 158 countries and 17 million volunteers participating in 2018. Ocean Conservancy asks volunteers every year to join together around the globe to clean up their coastlines, and to document the trash they pick up on the ‘Clean Swell’ app, in order to identify ways to eliminate ocean trash in the future.
According to estimates, there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, with approximately 75% of ocean litter coming from land-based waste. By ridding beaches of plastic and other garbage, we can lessen the likelihood of it ending up in the sea. Pollution has devastating effects on the surrounding environment, marine life and their ecosystems, and of all the trash that makes it into the sea, plastic is the worst.
The first cleanups in the Overstrand started on Tuesday 17 September, when the Hawston Cadets helped clear the Paddavlei wetlands in Hawston, along with Overstrand Municipality’s Environmental Management Services (EMS) and the Paddavlei Eco- Group (PEG). Other residents who volunteered their time and helped clean up Paddavlei were Working for the Coast and other NGO’s.
Marco Cornelius, Michael Henn and Steven Njokwana (DEA Youth Co-ordinator) of EMS who coordinated the clean-up projects, said they were shocked to see how much rubbish was scattered in the stream and underneath the vegetation – everything from glass wine bottles to food packaging, plastic cool drink bottles and caps, plastic bags, decades of build-up of polystyrene, cigarette butts and much more.
Under the banner of their CleanMarine project, BirdLife Overberg and the municipality’s EMS, with help from Working for the Coast, also did a cleanup on Thursday 19 September. BirdLife Overberg cleaned the area around the Klein River estuary mouth at Grotto beach while the municipality’s EMS teams cleaned up the area between De Kelders and Sopies Klip.
According to Marco Cornelius (Overstrand Municipality), field ranger and facilitator of the various clean-up projects, we need to address the environmental issues in our community and try cut back on the amount of plastic-use.
The other clean-ups in the Overstrand took place on Saturday 21 September, where volunteers helped to clean a number of areas: Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve, Hangklip in Pringle Bay, Danger Point in Gansbaai, Hermanus New Harbour, the Cliff Path between Grotto beach and Westcliff, Kleinmond, Dawidskraal and the Rooi-Els slip.
The clean-ups were reported to be a success and the following number of bags were collected in each area:
|Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve||22 bags|
|Hangklip, Pringle Bay||14 bags|
|Danger Point, Gansbaai||48 bags|
|New Harbour, Hermanus||22 bags|
|Cliff path, Westcliff to Grotto beach||35 bags|
|Kleinmond Harbour to Palmiet beach||15 bags|
|Total reported bags collected||154 bags|
Many of the teams also picked up items such as tyres and rope that could not fit into bags.
The Top 15 items that were collected at the New Harbour Cleanup were:
- Cigarette butts: 1 463
- Small foam pieces: 565
- Metal bottle caps: 404
- Small plastic pieces: 341
- Small glass pieces: 289
- Glass bottles: 243
- Food wrappers: 234
- Plastic bottle caps: 221
- Plastic lids: 217
- Plastic bags: 138
- Construction materials: 131
- Foam cups & plates: 92
- Plastic takeout containers: 68
- Straws: 65
- Plastic bottles: 49