July is plastic awareness month, aiming at combating single use plastic items.
Every year, on the 20/21st September, the world comes together to tackle one of the biggest threats our ocean faces every single day – pollution. Worldwide thousands of kilograms of Plastics, Monofilament Fishing line, and a magnitude of other pollutants wash out on our beaches - every single day.
This takes its toll on our marine life.
Saving seabirds in the overstrand area has become a way of life for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust – we get regular calls from our army of citizen scientists, that live and visit our coastline, to come and save a bird from entanglement in fishing line or other injuries.
These people know that the DICT has the unconditional welfare of our seabirds at heart.
Where does all of these pollutants come from? They come off of marine vessels, and other sources, but the main source of the majority of our rubbish on our beaches is our storm water drains, runoffs and rivers – all of these eventually leads to the ocean and deposits these killers into the sea and eventually onto our beaches. Monofilament fishing line comes from direct deposit onto the beaches by anglers who has not been educated about the threats fishing line holds for the marine life, or people who knows, but just doesn’t care.
Every year, all over the world, thousands of people come together to do a mass cleanup of our shoreline – and this occasion is called the International Coastal Cleanup.
The DICT rallies businesses and individuals as well as schools to participate in this event every year.
This year the Overberg Municipality, Working for the Coast, Masakhane and Blompark schools Eco Groups, the International Marine Volunteers, Marine Dynamics, Gansbaai Tourism and the DICT worked together with House Giotto in Gansbaai to do a much needed cleanup of the section of beach in the new Romansbaai resort.
We met at the International Marine Volunteer Lodge in Kleinbaai at 09h00, and we showed the whole cleanup crew why we need to clean our beaches. Unfortunately, when discussing and showing video’s about the effect of pollution, it’s all doom and gloom… so where is the light at the end of the tunnel? This light starts shining when you realize that your choice makes a difference… and that your actions will save the lives of many creatures that frequent our beaches, and our oceans.
We headed out to Romansbaai, and the evidence of pollution was everywhere – so the cleanup team started the two and a half hour session. During the cleanup a pod of about 50 Bottle-nose Dolphin curiously surfed the breakers, probably watching if we get every single piece of rubbish on the beach!
32 rubbish bags of plastics, cans, fishing line and other pollutants were picked up from this one single 300m long beach – and when we weighed it, it turned out to weigh a gruesome 120kg’s.
The cleanup crew were rewarded with refreshments provided by the Great White House in Kleinbaai – and every one of our the cleanup crew was given a certificate to say that they made a difference on this special day, and that they commit themselves to reducing pollution through their daily actions!
But we cannot do this alone – big companies such as Volkswagen South Africa, which is the corporate logistical sponsor of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust support these initiatives, and their sponsorship has enabled us to reach, rescue and send injured birds for rehabilitation to Cape Town. Together with VWSA, Grindrod Bank and Asset Management, the Blue Fund and Wildlands Conservation Trust, the DICT is setting up a world class African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary to serve the injured seabirds in the Overstrand area.
Thank you to Plastics SA for your continued support and leadership in the world of mitigating pollution, as well as the provision of cleanup materials…
Specific days, such as the ICC every year is a great tool to create awareness – but in the wise words of Wilfred Chivell, founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust,” Conservation is a way of life. Every day counts, every animal counts…” Let your actions speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, keep our oceans and beaches pollutant free!