(Image credit: Devin Tull)
Hout Bay beach looked quite clean on the surface, however upon closer inspection and after two hours of cleaning, our efforts resulted in 162 kg of trash collected. Most of it was small stuff, with lollipop sticks and ear bud sticks definitely coming on top of most picked up items. Weirdest find: a Nokia cell phone. The total weight of all of the trash collected on the day is much higher, as this does not include the water surface and underwater cleanups, or the bags that were dropped off on the other side of the beach.
162 kg of trash collected 19 September 2020 (Image credit: Katja Laingui)
A cross-section of the, mostly, plastic pollution items that were found on the day (Image credit: Anzio Abels)
The day was truly one of collaboration, as several organisations worked together to make the day a success. Plastics SA has been the coordinator of ICC in South Africa for years, and they make sure that all of the trash collected is disposed of responsibly. Unfortunately, all of the trash collected has to be taken to landfill, as most of it is not recyclable. PETCO also joined in this year to assist us with some spot prizes, including some cool hats, buffs and bags made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Cleanup participants who earned themselves some cool PETCO gear, made out of recycled plastic bottles (Image credit: Hayley McLellan)
We want to thank all of the other organisations that decided to join and collaborate with us on the day. We had staff from Sealand Gear, Oceans Alive, Captain Fanplastic, Nampak, The Good Machine and a whole group of kids from the Hout Bay United Football Community (HBUFC) club.
On the other side of the harbour, Sentinel Ocean Alliance, Sea the Bigger Picture and Oceano Reddentes also hosted a cleanup, making sure that all of the Hout Bay beach and harbour front was thoroughly tidied up.
Members of the Hout Bay United Football Community joined us on the day (Image credit: Wezley Lewis)
While we were busy on the beach, we partnered up with a team from Animal Ocean and the NSRI, who both did a boat cleanup in the harbour, picking up anything that they could collect from the surface of the water.
Another partnership was with Cleeve Robertson, CEO of the NSRI, who organised an underwater cleanup, together with the Western Cape EMS staff. This was very important, since the harbour floor is littered with various plastic and other items.
Maryke Musson, our CEO, with Rowan Adams from the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services, who partnered with the NSRI in the underwater cleanup (Image credit: Wezley Lewis)
A big part of our ethos at the Aquarium Foundation is to practice what we preach – and our team is always keen to do their part. Hayley McLellan, our Environmental Change Agent, organised the event and somehow evaded the cameras, but below are some of our other team members cleaning and interacting with the public.
Thank you again to everyone who made this day a success. And thank you to those of you who decided to do a mini cleanup close to your home instead. We hope that this day has made a difference in the way you think about plastic and will positively impact the environment, animals and you in the future.
Claudine van Zyl completed her Work Imtegrated Learning (WIL) internship with us last year. Her research project was: ‘The characterisation of plastics in stranded post-hatchling loggerhead turtles along the South African coastline from 2015 to 2020’.
Bob, a green turtle in our care, has been with us since November 2014. While he is not ready for release yet, we are preparing him so that he has the best chance of survival back in the big blue. Alex Panagiotou, one of our turtle team specialists, is working with Bob through enrichment programmes and research.
Grant Blakeway completed the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge by solo rowing 4 800 km across the Atlantic. He did this to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean.