What a year! The last of our four Trash Bash Beach cleanups, hosted in collaboration with The Beach Co-op, took place at Sunset Beach, Cape Town on 8 December 2018. All we took away was trash, all we left was lasting impressions - thank you to everyone that has been involved in their year of environmental action.
What were the results?
One of the goals of Trash Bash is to collect scientific data about the 12 most prevalent plastic litter items found in the ocean, how they are distributed and the rate at which the debris collected on Sunset Beach. These items are dubbed "The Dirty Dozen". To study the accumulation of the Dirty Dozen, the same 1km stretch of beach was cleaned up four times throughout the year - these were the results:
|"Dirty Dozen" item||21 Mar||9 Jun||15 Sep||8 Dec||Total|
Looks like individual sweet wrappers, lollipop sticks and discarded earbuds were the big pollution items on this beach - entering the ocean as windblown litter or via wastewater. Interestingly, you can see that there is a proportional increase in items like chip packets, drinking straws and water bottles after the winter rains - a strong indication that much of the litter on this beach is washed into the ocean with stormwater runoff.
We also found uncountable amounts of microplastics and nurdles during these cleanups, and will be looking at ways to more effectively clean and quantify these types of pollution too.
Trash Bash 2019 - more to look forward to!
With your suggestions, 2019 is going to see bigger, better and even more incredible Trash Bash cleanup - we'll be saying goodbye to Sunset Beach and moving to new locations for the next year of cleanups and scientific study.
We look forward to seeing you all again and being able to welcome new communities of Trash Bashers into our midst in the new year.