Published: 30 June 2017
In light of World Oceans Day on the 8th June, 7Seasrope, White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects, got together to clean up a very long stretch of one of the local beaches - all the way from Franskraal beach to Die Gruis.
Our oceans, our future
With so much rubbish ending up in our oceans it is important that everyone makes an effort to clean up our beaches and oceans as much as possible.
The theme for World Oceans Day this year was ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’ - as life on earth is dependent on the ocean, as well as being home to over one million different species. The deep blue sea employs millions of workers, feeds billions of people and contributes trillions to the world economy.
Despite being so important to humans and to their survival, the oceans are often taken for granted with exploitation of species, habitat encroachment, illegal and poor fishing practices, pollution and marine debris all being pressing issues.
With regards to marine debris or marine rubbish, it is estimated that an approximate 635,000 tonnes of rubbish enters our oceans every year according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Much of this rubbish ends up on our beaches, washed in with the waves and tides, some of it sinks, some of it accumulates, and some is eaten by marine animals that mistake it for food.
It is thought that over 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles, and over one million seabirds are killed each year due to plastic ingestion. Fish have also shown to ingest plastic and it is believed that if you eat an average amount of seafood you could be ingesting up to 11,000 particles of plastic yourself every year.
More plastic than fish
Studies have found that if we continue to dump rubbish in the ocean in the way that we do, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2040.
Given that more than every second breath we breathe is dependent on oxygen coming from plankton from the oceans, it is concerning that we are moving towards oceans where you will find more plastic particles than plankton - the very thing we depend on for our oxygen.
Awareness and recycling
7Seasrope is a local company set up by Andre Roux and Jennifer Tomuschat to help clean up the local beaches working with the community and volunteer projects.
Not only do they want to clean up the local area, but they also strive to raise awareness in the community and around the world and re-use as much of the debris picked up as possible.
They have started off with recycling all ropes, fishing lines and fishing nets, making them into bracelets that can be purchased. Proceeds from the products sold are then donated to different marine conservation and research initiatives.
Their first big clean up
World Ocean’s Day provided a great opportunity for 7Seasrope to hold their first big clean up.
Already working to do cleanups themselves over the past few months, covering the area from Franskraal to Kleinbaai, this time they teamed up with the volunteers and staff from White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects to clean up the area from Franskraal beach to Die Gruis, covering a stretch of almost 5km on the 9th June 2017.
63kg rubbish in a few hours
Over the course of just a few hours the volunteers collected 63kg of rubbish. Of this, 28kg was plastic, 23kg was glass, 18kg was rope and 5kg was metal.
The beginning stretch of the clean up from Franskraal beach was found to be quite clean, but as they approached Die Gruis, huge amounts of rubbish and debris were found. Some of the main culprits were plastic straws, lollipop sticks, glow sticks, polystyrene pieces, plastic bottles, glass bottles, rope and fishing line.
Still a lot to be done
Andre Roux founder of 7Seasrope stated at the end of the day that “there was still a lot of work to be done in the area, we could have continued to clean up for hours”.
Next time they intend to start at Die Gruis and make their way towards Pearly Beach. The accumulation of rubbish in this area was found to be incredibly high, so they intend to focus on this area in the near future as much as possible.
7Seasrope will be holding beach clean up events throughout the year, but intend to conduct weekly beach clean ups with the help of White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects staff and volunteers. Whilst their focus will be on Pearly Beach for a while, with a lot of cleaning up to do in that area, they also intend to work on all local coastline areas, stretching all the way from Die Plaat to Pearly Beach.
Mary Rowlinson and
Tom Slough, both Marine Biologists