BIRDLIFE OVERBERG COASTAL CLEANUP COINCIDING WITH BIRDING BIG DAY
Posted on the 28th November 2017
Saturday’s second coastal cleanup at the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve was a huge success and 26 volunteers participated in the event. These included 15 children from the Zwelihle SwopShop after Helé had organised an agreement with them. We decided to donate R 1,000.00 to the SwopShop. My appreciation goes to Carin for providing apples and Helé for the juice and hotdogs. We will attempt to involve these children every month as they understand the methodology and the collaboration with the SwopShop will have obvious environmental education implications.
Anton and I also attended the Cape Whale Coast Hope Spot meeting on Friday where we were introduced to members of the Junior Town Council. We will attempt to involve them in the cleanups from January as they would be able to bring many learners on board.
SwopShop kids having lunch with Antonio
SwopShop kids in spontanious song
Antonio de Silva-Swart of Coastal Cleanup Conservation also participated in Saturday’s cleanup and many important lessons were learnt. The coastline along the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve is certainly too big to clean in one day and it was decided to divide it into two sections. The first section from Brekfis Baai to the tern roost was cleaned in October and Antonio was very impressed with how clean this section still appeared – this certainly suggests that our approach can work. This section will again be cleaned on 17 February and 19 May.
The second section from the tern roost to the Raimondo homestead is however rugged with steep climbs and sometimes narrow ledges. This section is extremely polluted and will be the target for our cleanup on 13 January. We will start from the Raimondo house and work from there. Antonio is satisfied that these cleanups are effective and that these can be done on a quarterly basis. The next cleanup of the Raimondo section will therefore be done on 14 April.
Another lesson learnt is that the group should move to the furthest point of the day’s cleanup with empty bags and then work back to the vehicles. The bags become very heavy and sometimes even tear – it is a major mission to carry these bags all the way back to the vehicles. We will also have to look into ways of getting these bags to the recycle plant and we might consider looking for someone with a trailer to assist us with this. Any suggestions in this regard will be appreciated.
Part of Saturday's group
Another problem - cable ties
The above implies that we can turn our attention to other areas and therefore we are planning a cleanup along the Onrus and Vermont coastline on Saturday 9 December. There will be two sections, namely from the Milkwood Restaurant to Davies pool and then from there to the Bitou lookout. We are calling for volunteers to assist us with this and will launch media campaigns over the next ten days. This is an ideal opportunity to educate locals and holiday makers about coastal pollution. The second cleanup along here will be on 17 March.
Also note that any members who have identified key sites where plastics, etc accumulate can easily be trained to apply the scoring of the content of the litter collected. This information will be forwarded to Coastal Cleanup Conservation, Plastics SA and the Oceans Conservancy in America. This is done to develop a global understanding of the impact of marine litter on the environment. Anton has also developed short PowerPoint presentations on the impact of litter on our oceans that can be used for environmental education purposes.
It is evident that many more volunteers will have to be identified. This work can be very hard, but extremely satisfying. We accept that some volunteers will come once and then never again. We are however committed to develop an on-going campaign, because this has many benefits, both from a conservation and environmental education perspective. We appeal to all members to assist us in this regard, even if it is just to identify potential individual volunteers, or like-minded groups or organisations.
We will give feedback on the types and amounts of litter collected on Saturday as soon as all the forms have been collated.
Coastal cleanup in October
Beautiful Hoek van de Berg coastline
Fishing line entanglement - slow death of a cormorant