The weather kept us guessing, but it definitely did not deter the enthusiastic crowd from participating in our annual International Coastal Cleanup day!
The 120-strong gathering of cleaners was a mix of local Capetonians, Aquarium members, staff and volunteers.
Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup takes place every year in partnership with volunteer organisations and individuals around the globe to remove rubbish from beaches and waterways. We try to clean a different beach every year so that as many of our members and Capetonians from different areas as possible can join us, and this year we chose the coastal conservancy of Soetwater near Kommetjie.
After introductions and a quick overview of Soetwater by Lappies Labuschagne, manager of Soetwater Environmental Education Centre, we handed out bags, gloves, data-collection sheets and pencils. There was also an opportunity to spot some interesting land and coastal birds, since Soetwater is a hotspot for many of the birds found along our coastline.
We also introduced the team from Stream Straws, which produces amazing eco-friendly glass alternatives to one of the top 10 polluters in the ocean, the plastic straw. There was a raffle, with entrants standing the chance to win a cool set of glass straws, all kitted out with their own brush and a nifty bag to store them in.
Every beach is different and we never know what we will find. Soetwater, and Kommetjie in general, are beaches that accumulate waste from the ocean, rather than as a consequence of direct littering. This year we saw a lot of microplastic and a fair amount of fishing gut.
The day ended with a prize draw, with Aquarium complimentary tickets, Aquarium Penguin Encounters and a set of the Monopoly Cape Town edition up for grabs.
The day was a success and we left another beach a lot cleaner than it was when we arrived. We encourage our visitors to keep cleaning for the rest of the year. Whenever you visit the seaside, just take a bag with you and collect while you walk. It all makes a difference.