International Coastal Cleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup Week, (15 – 18 Sept), is the time when volunteer groups around the world clean beaches, estuaries, rivers, dams and lakes. Overstrand schools have participated in ICC for many years. Participating Eco-Schools see a slide presentation on Marine Litter, then complete a beach cleanup, separate the waste, tally the different types of waste and complete the relevant data sheets. This is forwarded to the national co-ordinator for collation and interpretation and the results are then passed on to the international body, Ocean Conservancy.

This year clean ups involving fourteen schools, were planned from Kleinbaai to Pringle Bay. Unfortunately a few were postponed due to strong wind and rain and will occur during the first weeks of October. The learners are given bags and gloves. They then move across a designated area picking up litter and meet at a central point to sort and document the waste collected. When done the learners are given refreshments. Funding to make the cleanups possible (particularly to cover the high transport costs), has been generously donated by Fima, the Plastics Federation and Ocean Conservancy.

Often a beach is characterised by the type of waste found there. This can be related to the type of activity that commonly occurs there. For example, Mt Pleasant Primary students found many used disposable nappies at Sandbaai beach. (This is a beach commonly frequented by families.) Bosko Christian School learners found that cigarette butts are most common on Gearings Point and around the Old Harbour. Bottle caps and straws are also collected in high numbers here. This area is frequented by people whale watching and sight seeing. Smoking and drinking cooldrinks are commonplace. Hawston beach is characterised by a high amount of fishing related waste like fish line and rope. What we need is a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of these types of waste in the see with an appeal to the public to responsibly dispose of these types of waste.