Mapping plastic pollution around the Tip of Africa
Follow the Strandloper Team on their Facebook page “Strandloper Project” as they progress day by day past some of the Overberg and Cape Agulhas' most iconic sites such as De Mond, the Southernmost Tip, Aasfontein and many more. Having already surveyed 415km of coastline from Storms River Mouth to Blombos during two previous expeditions in 2019 and 2020, the Strandlopers Team are as ready as can be to embark on rd their 3 hiking expedition on Sunday, October 19th. This time around they plan to explore and map the 165 stretch of southernmost coastline from Arniston to Grotto beach in Hermanus. At the completion of the 2021 research expedition, the team will have surveyed approximately 19% of the South African coastline.
Mapping and gathering information
Unlike the Strandlopers of old who roamed and frequented the area in search of food, our Strandloper Team are setting out to gather information to protect marine biodiversity from the threat of plastic pollution. They are focused on mapping the distribution and densities of washed-up plastic pollution and fishing debris such as trawl nets, longline ropes and crab pots as they go along. They anticipate that data from the expedition will offer an insight into the type and origin of micro-plastic and plastic pollution along the southern shoreline of South Africa. Everything will be captured in an app called CyberTracker.
Why mapping the area surrounding the Southernmost Tip is so important
Expedition leader, Mark Dixon, explained in detail why he is so interested in the results from the upcoming expedition, particularly the area as they round Cape Agulhas. While the Southern Tip of Africa is considered to be the boundary between the warm Agulhas and Benguela currents, which may have an impact on the drift of plastic pollution before washing up, the Overberg and Whale Coast is also a region of longer rivers with multiple human settlements upstream, and increased population density compared to the Southern Cape. Both of these factors have a direct influence on the amount of plastic and micro plastic entering the ocean through rivers and coastal drainage infrastructure. To learn more about the Strandloper Project marine research and how you can support them, visit their website at www.strandloperproject.org
You can follow the Strandloper Project expedition progress and daily updates on their social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.