Participation in yesterday’s BirdLife Overberg coastal clean-up was a bit of a disaster due to a variety of reasons. The weather was not good and several people did not come out and the same applies to the tragic rioting in Zwelihle that prevented several members from joining. Some of our regular participants in fact had to work at businesses in town as workers were prohibited from leaving Zwelihle for work. The school holidays also kept our young heroes from the Recycle Swop Shop from joining. Other members were away on holiday.
Be this as it may, six brave hearts weathered the storm. Elaine and Jenny were joined by newcomers Vanessa Ovenstone, Sue Franck, Ronel Botha and James Luckhoff. Welcome to our efforts!!! The clean-up was again along the eastern shoreline of the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve. This is certainly one of the most stunning stretches of coastline along the Cape Whale Coast shoreline and needs to be experienced. They started from Brekvisbaai and worked westwards towards the first bay that we previously named “Tern Bay” and for obvious reasons.
Jenny and Elaine ready to go
Sue and Vanessa doing their thing
An Excel spreadsheet of the litter collected is being forwarded to Plastics SA and the International Oceans Conservancy and is available from us. We hereby merely highlight a few findings. They were fairly surprised with how clean the area was compared to the first cleanup in October 2017. In October we estimated that just less than 500 meters of fishing line was removed from the rocks and in January only about 30 meters of fishing line. Yesterday about 60 meters were collected.
Brave hearts hard at work
Other prominent items during October included plastic bottle caps – the 105 caps were in January down to 19 and yesterday 50 were collected, plastic straws and stirrers – down from 86 to 17 and yesterday again up to 25, plastic beverage bottles – down from 87 to 21 in January, but yesterday a whopping 78 bottles were collected. Very few food wrappers were collected previously, but yesterday 58 of these were collected. There was also a dramatic increase in condoms and wrappers collected as 82 of these were found.
When we discussed this last night it was speculated that two issues could possibly explain these increases. As expected (and described in one of the previous reports) the severe winter storms of the last few weeks could have washed lots of non-consumable plastics onto the shore. It is also evident that there is an increase in poaching activity along this stretch of coastline, as illustrated by the condoms and some diki diki lights being collected. A flipper and a wetsuite were also found.
The bags of litter are usually delivered to the recycling plant, but sadly this facility had apparently been destroyed over the last few days. My appreciation goes to the brave hearts who had participated and we are looking forward to welcoming those members and other participants who could not make it yesterday to next month’s clean-up. We appeal to all members to become involved in this campaign and see how many friends and other interested parties you can involve. Also let us know if you want to clean a specific section of coastline close to where you live on a regular basis and we will assist you to get going. Contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 455 8402 to volunteer your support. Details of next month’s clean-up will be released shortly.
(Images by Ronel Botha)
The beautiful Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve coastline