REPORT ON THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG CLEANMARINE COASTAL CLEANUP ON 25 JANUARY 2020
Posted on the 25th January 2020
Ten members and volunteers participated in the monthly CleanMarine CleanMarine coastal clean-up, this time 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. The group started from Brekvisbaai and worked westwards towards the first bay that we previously named “Tern Bay” for obvious reasons.
It was a beautiful cool, somewhat 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 Cape Robin Chat. There were coastal birds flying all over the place and with several oystercatchers being prominent. Others that we were able to identify included species such as Little Egrets, White-breasted Cormorants, African Sacred Ibis and large numbers of the common terns found during summer months. A highlight however were the Candelabra flowers beginning bloom along the shoreline.
The clean-up was interesting and very rewarding. We hereby merely highlight a few findings. We collected about 40 meters of fishing line from the rocks, together with 32 pieces of rope. Only 4 plastic straws were collected, compared to the huge numbers found on previous clean-ups. No plastic balloons were found. This certainly indicates that the campaign against such items that we ran in the past is showing dividends. Other prominent items collected included 82 plastic bottle caps, 45 plastic beverage bottles, 62 plastic shopping bags, 35 lollypop sticks and 200+ small pieces of plastic. Also keep in mind that this was done after the summer holiday period when one would normally expect an increase in “recreational litter”. Most significantly it should however be noted that there had been a consistent decrease in the numbers and weight of litter collected during the six clean-ups since this stretch of coastline was first cleaned in October 2017. The dramatic reduction of litter collected is most encouraging and serves as strong motivation to continue with these efforts.
Far less condoms and wrappers and “digi-digi lights” associated with abalone poaching were also collected – one wonders whether this has something to do with the many Overstrand poachers arrested along the Garden Route this week?
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 clean-up along the second section of the Hoek van de Berg Nature Reserve shoreline. We would like to encourage all our members and volunteers to participate in this one. This will be done on Saturday 28 March, when we will again get together at the parking area of the OK in Onrus at 08h00.
Our 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 clean-up. We are currently negotiating with two youth groups regarding their possible participation in future clean-ups. 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.
As always our thanks go to Plasticsǀ SA for supplying the bags, gloves, thongs and support and the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay for sponsoring refreshments.