Two Oceans Aquarium is taking on the ocean's trash and celebrating International Coastal Cleanup Day
The Two Oceans Aquarium will continue its “Trash Bash” beach cleanup campaign on 15 September by taking part in International Coastal Cleanup Day. Join other volunteers at Sunset Beach, Blouberg from 10:00 – 12:00 and make a positive difference to our oceans while contributing to scientific research.
Our oceans are facing a human-made plastic catastrophe. With estimates being that by 2050 there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean, the time is now to make a difference and clean up our acts. Studies have shown that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from plastic ingestion. Plastic has truly permeated into the deepest recesses of our natural world and has even entered our food chain.
Plastic does not break down; it does not degrade and become part of the natural system again. In fact, plastic breaks up. It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes small enough, not only for small fish to mistake it for food, but research has found that even plankton is now mistaking this “forever material” for food and consuming it, introducing it into the food chain at the lowest level.
The question now is: What can we do to stop this pollution of our oceans? Considering that 80% of litter found in the oceans, originates on land, the answer is actually quite simple - we can intervene in the cycle of pollution entering the oceans via land, by removing it from the beaches and preventing it from entering the water in the first place.
In the past, the Two Oceans Aquarium has always supported International Coastal Cleanup Day each year. “Trash Bash” is the Aquarium’s campaign to host quarterly beach cleanups, to grow attendance of these cleanups and to entrench them as part of Cape Town’s community culture.
How will the Cleanup work?
The cleanup will take place at Sunset Beach, Blouberg. On the day, the “Dirty Dozen” approach will be used where attendees work together in groups and record everything collected, but pay specific attention to 12 pre-selected items such as plastic shopping bags, earbud sticks, sweet wrappers, etc. Each group will assign a scribe who will record the items collected. At the end of the cleanup, the data will be collated and will contribute to research into the tracking of different sources of marine litter.
Everyone who wishes to attend the cleanup is asked to bring along their own water (in reusable bottles) as well as reusable gloves, a bucket to collect the litter in and to wear sunscreen and a hat.
“Cleaning up isn’t just good for the environment, it is also good for those taking part. It leaves participants feeling that they are making a difference, playing their part and being responsible for something as fragile, yet incredibly important as the ocean. The outcome of these cleanups is often much bigger than just a cleaner beach, as it changes people’s view of their role within the environment and instils a sense of responsibility towards their surrounds. Cleanups also get us outdoors and to appreciate the beauty of our surrounds” said Helen Lockhart, Communications and Sustainability Manager for the Two Oceans Aquarium.
More information on International Coastal Cleanup Day:
International Coastal Cleanup is an event that was started in 1986 and has since grown into a global initiative. Volunteers are issued with data cards and each item collected is recorded on these cards. After this worldwide event, the global data is collated. Last year 18 000 South Africans joined the worldwide campaign, and in the process of cleaning 527kms of coastline, collected more than 12 000kgs of litter. Please visit international coastal cleanup for more information.