Join the Two Oceans Aquarium Trash Bash at the next of our regular environmental cleanup events in Cape Town. We want to do more to tackle plastic pollution in our waterways… And we want YOU to join us.

On 23 March, our first Trash Bash of 2019 will take place at Rondevlei Nature Reserve - let's help clean up the hippos' home!

Apart from being good for the environment, cleanups are also good for us humans. Anyone who’s spent a morning with us on a beach to pick up plastic pollution knows that it’s actually a chance to have a ball, to spend time with friends and family, to breathe in some fresh air and feel the sand between our toes, and to leave a slightly better, slightly more informed person.

We're mixing things up for World Wetlands Day - Trash Bash will be heading inland to Rondevlei Nature Reserve on 23 March.

What better way to give back than having fun while doing it?

“Cleaning up isn’t just good for the environment, it is also good for those taking part. It leaves participants feeling that they are making a difference, playing their part and being responsible for something as fragile, yet incredibly important as the ocean. The outcome of these cleanups is often much bigger than just a cleaner beach, as it changes people’s view of their role within the environment and instils a sense of responsibility towards their surrounds. Cleanups also get us outdoors and to appreciate the beauty of our surrounds.” – Two Oceans Aquarium Communications & Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart

Next Trash Bash details

  • Date: 23 March 2019
  • Time: 09h00 to 11h00
  • Location: Rondevlei Nature Reserve (more about the venue below)
  • What to bring: Sunblock, a hat, water (in a reusable bottle), and reusable gloves (like the ones you’d use for gardening or doing dishes). NB: If you would like to be more active in cleaning up the canals and hippo habitats, please bring along gumboots or waders.

The Two Oceans Aquarium Trash Bash receives the support and assistance from the amazing Beach Co-op, a non-profit organisation driving change in single-use plastic through integrated surveys and research-ready beach cleanups. It’s great to have this wonderful organisation on board!

Photo by Amina Hoosain/Two Oceans Aquarium.

MiniSASS Workshop

To take a closer look at the life inhabiting the Trash Bash cleanup site, we're teaming up with explore4knowledge, who will be running an exciting miniSASS workshop to investigate the tiny animals that live in Rondevlei's Italian Canal. Young or old, you can learn about this simple citizen science tool which anyone can use to monitor the health of a river. Through miniSASS you can learn about rivers, monitor the water quality of rivers within your community, and explore reasons why the water quality may not be as ideal as everyone would like.

About the venue: Rondevlei Nature Reserve

The next Trash Bash will be taking place on 23 March 2019 - the day after World Water Day. For that reason, we've decided to move Trash Bash from the beach to a natural wetland. After all, plastic pollution that is washed into these precious waterways ultimately ends up in the ocean too, so this gives Trash Bash the chance to clean up pollution closer to the source and protect this precious wetland ecosystem, which is vital for both human and animal health.

The cleanup site will be along the banks of the Reserve's Italian Canal, the waterway that connects Rondevlei and Princessvlei. The mouth of this canal is an important habitat to the local hippopotamus population, as well as countless freshwater fish, amphibians and bird species. Unfortunately, this habitat's proximity to human settlement also make it a gathering point for plastic pollution washed down from further upstream.

Plastic litter already fills these fresh hippopotamus tracks - if that's not a warning sign about the need to clean up our wetlands, we don't know what is.

The banks of this canal will pose a more challenging cleanup location than the beaches chosen for other Trash Bash events, but the goal is equally important. We would like everyone to aware of the following:

  • The cleanup location in an approximately 900m walk from the parking lot across sandy, sometimes bushy terrain. It is not suitable for anyone with a mobility impairment (sorry), and we advise everyone attending to wear closed shoes.
  • The cleanup itself will focus on a 250m section of canal and its banks. Much of the terrain is muddy, so we would advise all serious Trash Bashers to please wear gumboots or waders. If you don't have mud-proof footwear, that's ok, there is still plenty to clean up on the dry banks.
  • Because this Trash Bash has a more technically challenging venue, it is not advisable for very young children to take part - but feel free to explore the beautiful Rondevlei Nature Reserve with them!
  • Rondevlei Nature Reserve offers free entry to everyone - just sign yourself in at the gate when arriving.
Here the Italian Canal flows towards Rondevlei, from Rondevlei to Zeekoevlei, from Zeekoevlei out into False Bay, and from False Bay into the open ocean. Stopping plastic here protects not just these wetlands, but all the ecosystems downstream too.

The Dirty Dozen Method

Aside from the obvious perks of doing a beach cleanup, Trash Bash also contributes to important scientific research by following the Dirty Dozen data collection method.

The Dirty Dozen are the 12 litter items that are most commonly found on our beaches. These are: Carrier bags, chip packets, cigarette lighters, cooldrink bottles, cooldrink lids, earbuds, fishing line, lightsticks, plastic lollipop sticks, straws, sweet wrappers and water bottles.

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Attendees work together in groups and record everything collected, paying specific attention to the Dirty Dozen items. At the end of each cleanup, the data is collated and contributes to research tracking the different sources of marine litter. 

Our oceans are facing a human-made plastic catastrophe. With estimates being that by 2050 there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean, the time is now to make a difference and clean up our acts. Studies have shown that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from plastic ingestion. Plastic has truly permeated into the deepest recesses of our natural world and has even entered our food chain.

Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

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.

The question now is: What can we do to stop this pollution of our oceans? Considering that 80% of plastic found in the oceans originates on land, the answer is actually quite simple - we can intervene in the cycle of pollution entering the oceans via land, by removing it from the beaches and preventing it from entering the water in the first place.

Join Bruce the Shark and let's make a Trash Bash difference! Photo by Amina Hoosain/Two Oceans Aquarium.

Trash Bash archive

Throughout 2018, four successful Trash Bash cleanups were run on Cape Town's Sunset Beach - not only cleaning up this patch of coast, but also collecting scientific data about the buildup of pollution on this stretch.

In the past, the Two Oceans Aquarium has always supported International Coastal Cleanup Day, taking place in September each year. Trash Bash is a campaign by the Two Oceans Aquarium and The Beach Co-op, expanding on our previous beach cleanup commitments by hosting quarterly. With your support, we hope to grow attendance of these cleanups and to entrench them as part of Cape Town’s culture. Take a look at our previous Trash Bashes:

If you'd like more information, feel free to get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don't forget to express your interest on the Trash Bash Facebook event to receive updated information.

Together we can have a huge impact. Photo by Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium.

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