The Mandela Day Plastic Patrol cleanup of the New Harbour in Hermanus resulted in almost 400kg of mostly plastic rubbish being collected in just three hours. 

Kim ‘Sharklady’ MacLean with Harbour Master Nomonde Simon after the cleanup.

The event, an initiative of Kim ‘Sharklady’ MacLean with the support – and active participation on the day – of Harbour Master Nomonde Simon, was held on Saturday morning, 18 July and drew more than 50 dedicated volunteer cleaner-uppers who helped to clear the harbour’s rocks, cliffs, parking lots as well as the sea itself. 

Kim was overwhelmed by the public’s response, especially during these trying times. “The open-hearted Madiba spirit was evident in the commitment shown by all these wonderful volunteers,” she said.

Three local divers lent their hands and flippers to drag out from underwater, among others, four cellphones, many lengths of rope and masses of tangled fishing line, which mean possible death for many a sea creature or bird.

Plastic Patrol is sponsored by Sharklady Adventures, Majestic Cruising and Pick n Pay. The events are responsibly managed under Covid-19 regulations, with compulsory social distancing, hand sanitisation and mask-wearing. Gloves and collection bags are provided, but volunteers must bring their own masks. No groups are permitted and all volunteers have to sign a register.

The next Plastic Patrol Cleanup will be on Saturday 1 August, from 10:00 (weather dependent). It will focus on the marine environment, making use of boats and jetskis. Interested volunteers can contact Kim on 083 746 8985. Divers are also welcome. 

To get involved in future Plastic Patrol events, go to www.facebook.com/plasticpatrolhermanus/

The tally was as follows:

(Total weight 379kg)

Cigarette butts 1063

Food wrappers 513

Bottle caps metal 480

Grocery bags plastic 282

Bottles plastic 258

Bottles glass 219

Bottle caps plastic 192

Other plastic bags 155

Plastic/foam packaging 134

Straws 132

Tobacco packaging 127

Paper bags 112

Takeaway containers foam 108

Takeaway containers plastic 107

Beverage cans 107

Construction materials 91

Cigar tips 86

Fishing net & pieces 82

Cups, plates foam 79

Lids plastic 71

Strapping bands 67

Cups, plates paper 61

Cups, plates plastic 57

Forks, knives, spoons 48

Fishing line greater than 1m 47

Rope greater than 1m 43

Other plastic bottles 41

Condoms 38

Diapers 20

Tampons 15

Appliances 12

Fireworks 12

Fishing buoys, pots, traps 10

Lighters 10

Balloons 9

Six-pack holders 8

Syringes 4

Tyres 3

Tiny trash pieces less than 2.5cm:

Foam 350

Plastic 318

Glass 274

Other items picked up:

Cellphones 4

Jacket; backpack

Fishing rod 1

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