PRESENTATION ON MARINE LITTER - MONTHLY TALK ON 9 OCTOBER 2017
Posted on the 10th October 2017
At last night’s BirdLife Overberg monthly meeting Antonio da Silva-Swart gave a talk entitled “Coastal cleanups along the Overstrand Coast, including those involving schools”. Antonio is an environmental anti-litter activist who hikes the coast of South Africa identifying marine debris hot spots. He lives in Hermanus and heads up a volunteer group called “Coastal Cleanup Conservation”. Over the past 12 months, they have done 22 cleanups along the Cape Whale Coast and they aim to do at least one cleanup every month.
Demonstration of marine litter
The aim of this group is to implement a sustainable programme of coastal cleanups along the Overstrand as well as do educational talks at schools. Antonio presented images of marine debris along our coast and explained how they end up there. He illustrated the 10 most common items picked up based on amounts – this is established through staff members of Whale Coast Conservation weighing, sorting and counting the items collected. He also has fascinating statistics on how long does it takes for various plastic items to biodegrade. All this work is done in collaboration with the Plastics Federation of South Africa and the international Oceans Conservancy.
Antonio further presented some images of volunteers in action and how coastal clean-up in actual fact work. It was particularly encouraging to see the involvement of so many schools in the programme. We also invited Fiona Matthes who manages a campaign called “Rethink Single Use Plastics” to give a short presentation and demonstration of the products she promotes to combat plastic pollution.
Fiona Matthes on Rethink Single Use Plastics
Part of display of Fiona's products
Ultimately Antonio discussed how we as club members could become involved in this exciting project. There are already several members like Elaine and Helé who regularly collect marine debris when they hike the coastal paths. It was proposed that we develop a plan of action to regularly clean up marine debris at specific hotspots identified by Antonio. Once this has been done we will circulate the details – we appeal to all members to consider becoming involved in this exciting project and to involve your friends and acquaintances.
With marine litter
Antonio with gift pack
Cigarette butt bins to be erected at selected spots through sponsorship by BirdLife Overberg
Fishing line bins to be erected at selected spots through BirdLife Overberg sponsorship