A cloudy yet warm morning greeted the hundreds of Cape Town volunteers who joined us at the penultimate Trash Bash of 2018, coinciding with International Coastal Cleanup Day on 15 September. The purpose of this gathering was simple: To remove coastal litter from Sunset Beach and gather scientific data about the dreaded "Dirty Dozen" of plastic pollution.
Previous Trash Bash cleanups have been well supported by dozens of families and organisations, but this time our expectations were greatly exceeded with more than 500 volunteers arriving!
We began the day by splitting participants into groups of 10 - together they would remove trash and record their findings.
The data collected contributes to research aimed at tracking different sources of marine litter – focussing particularly on the 12 items making up the Dirty Dozen. This is why we are revisiting the same spot for all four Trash Bash cleanups of 2018, to see how the distribution of plastic waste changes. We are collaborating with The Beach Co-op on this citizen science project.
Terminator the Seal joined in, lifting our spirits and encouraging children to terminate trash by using less of single-use plastic.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is incredibly grateful for the support received from the public and community organisations that volunteered their time for this important cause. Thank you to The Beach Co-op, City Sightseeing, John Dory’s, Table Bay Hotel and SPAR Western Cape for their support of Trash Bash and the amazing spot prizes and assistance they offered to volunteers.
The abundance of enthusiasm shown by volunteers was clear throughout the day! We all made such a big difference. Together we can make the next Trash Bash even more successful – it’s happening on 8 December, watch this space!
Overall, a whopping 174,98kg of litter was collected!
Well done team!
Why this mattered
Studies have shown that millions of seabirds ingest plastic and thousands of sea animals die each year from ingesting and being entangled in plastic. Take a look below to see the seabird we found that had subsequently died due to plastic.
Plastic doesn’t break down; it doesn’t degrade and become part of the natural system again. In fact, plastic breaks up. It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes small enough, not only for small fish to mistake it for food, but research has found that even plankton is now mistaking this “forever material” for food and consuming it, introducing it into the food chain at the lowest level.
If you want to make a difference and help rid the oceans of plastic pollution then diarise our next Trash Bash on 8 December – from 10am to 12pm (TBC) at Sunset Beach - and bring along family and friends who want to help make a difference!
Thank you to everyone who took part, we certainly did not expect such a huge crowd at this Trash Bash - we can't wait to see you all again at the next one, which will be our final one for the year.