The latest Marine Evening, on the 31st October 2013, started off with Alouise Lynch, Operations Manager for the DICT speaking about the Volkswagen South Africa and DICT Wire Whale project. During this project a life sized wire replica of a Southern Right Whale was displayed at the Gansbaai Toursim office, and it was filled with 534kg’s of plastic pollutants removed during beach cleanups along the Overstrand coastline from the 16th to the 21st September 2013, aptly named “Whale Week”.
The spotlight definitely rested on the next speaker, John Kieser, Environmental Manager for Plastics SA, who presented on “Marine Pollution – Issues, Statistics and Solutions”.
John began his talk with a definition of Marine Debris or Pollution. ”It includes any manufactured or solid waste entering the marine environment irrespective of the source.” explained John “Plastics, metal, glass, processed timber, paper and cloth are debris which ends up in our oceans from sources such as commercial and recreational fisheries, vessels, storm water and urban runoff, windblown from land or carried out to sea by rivers, offshore mining as well as beach users and illegal dumping”.
John further highlighted the concerns of pollution of our oceans, loss of marine life through entanglement and ingestion, loss of aesthetics of our beaches, tourism impacts inclu-ding costs to vessels and operators, losses to fishery operations and ultimately the cost of mass cleanups.
A very bleak picture indeed, but John did offer a solution as well. “Let’s create awareness of the state of our oceans and beaches due to pollution, doing cleanups as far as we go, every person should rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle.”