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BIRDLIFE OVERBERG COASTAL CLEANUP ON 16 FEBRUARY 2019

Posted on the 16th February 2019

Twenty-two volunteers participated in the monthly CleanMarine coastal cleanup, this time along the eastern shoreline of the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve. The children of the Recycle Swop Shop again supported this BirdLife Overberg effort. This is certainly one of the most stunning stretches of coastline along the Cape Whale Coast shoreline and needs to be experienced. We started from Brekvisbaai and worked westwards towards the first bay that we previously named “Tern Bay” and for obvious reasons.

It was a beautiful cool, misty and windless morning and the birds were very active. Species heard calling continually from the coastal thickets included Bar-throated Apalis, Bokmakierie, Southern Boubou, Sombre Greenbul, Karoo Prinia and Southern Tchagra. There were coastal birds flying all over the place and with several oystercatchers being prominent. As far as coastal birds are concerned we were able to identify species such as Cape and White-breasted Cormorants and Whimbrel. The highlight however was large numbers of Candelabra flowers in full bloom along the shoreline.

The cleanup was interesting and very rewarding. We worked in threes with one marking off the litter items collected. This is done on the standard form developed by the Oceans Conservancy, an international agency based in America. The information will be forwarded to them, as well as Plastics SA. This is done to gain a better world-wide understanding of the negative impact of plastics on our oceans.

An Excel spreadsheet of the littler collected is available from us, but we hereby merely highlight a few findings. We collected about 190 meters of fishing line from the rocks, together with 109 pieces of rope. Other prominent items collected included 109 plastic bottle caps, 55 plastic straws, 80 plastic beverage bottles, 62 plastic shopping bags and 65 small pieces of plastic. We have not cleaned this area for some time and the increase in litter collected clearly suggests that these cleanups should be done more regularly. The summer holiday period could also possibly explain the increase in fishing related rubble collected.

A shocking finding however was that 370 condoms and wrappers were collected, indicating a possible huge increase in poaching activities along this part of our coastline. What can one say?

The bags of litter were delivered to the municipal refuse collection plant as most of the litter collected was wet and rotten, making it unsuitable for recycling purposes. We all agreed that this is a very satisfactory and rewarding exercise and we are looking forward next month’s cleanup between Davies Pool and the Bitou parking area along the Vermont shoreline. This is a fairly level and easy to navigate stretch of shoreline and we would like to encourage all our members and volunteers to participate in this one. This will be done on Saturday 9 March, when we will again get together at the parking area of the OK in Onrus.
My appreciation goes to everyone who had participated and we are looking forward to welcoming those members who could not make it today to next month’s cleanup. 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 mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402 to volunteer your support.

(Images will be posted next week).

Anton

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