The problem of the pollution of our oceans is currently receiving huge attention internationally – it also threatens our marine life and coastal birds. This issue is usually far removed from the thoughts of most holiday makers, but it still needs to be highlighted. Many people believe that this problem is just too big, even though there are several things that each one of us can do to address this problem.
Regular coastal cleanup campaigns are organised by local community and conservation organisations. Find out if such actions are being organised in the area where you are enjoying your holiday and participate in it. It also represents an ideal opportunity to educate children about the conservation of the environment.
One often finds plastic and other pollutants along the coastline. There is an international campaign that encourages beach goers to pick up at least five pieces of plastic every time they visit the beach. It has been shown that it has a significant positive impact in areas where it is implemented and each one of us can do this – the message spreads quickly.
International researchers suggest that plastic bottles and shopping bags, straws and polystyrene cups are collected most often during coastal cleanup campaigns. The irony is that these products are only used once and then discarded. Each one of us can ask ourselves what alternative reusable products are available to be taken to the beach and to be used in our everyday lives. In this way we can make an immediate impact on the waste stream along the seashore.
The problems of birds and other animals being entangled in fishing line, as well as the vulnerability of beach breeding birds have been addressed elsewhere. We can make a further contribution to the improvement of the quality of our coastline by participating in such actions.
Educational campaigns about these issues are being presented at several places along the South African coast during the holiday period. It is always worth one’s while to take note of such actions, attend such meetings and particularly to expose children to it. Educational material such as posters and brochures are often available and local radio stations sometimes feature important messages in this regard. All of these actions are aimed at creating a better coastal environment and improving the tourism potential of our coastline. The loading of batteries is seen as the main purpose of the summer holiday period – each one of us can however contribute to making our coastline a better place by becoming involved in simple and sustainable conservation actions.
More information on BirdLife Overberg’s CleanMarine coastal conservation campaign can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org