Cleaning up our beaches on World Oceans Day

uShaka Marine World staff joined millions around the world in celebrating World Oceans Day on 8 June 2016 by spending time on the beach picking up the many tiny, hard-to-find bits of debris that end up in the sea.

uShaka Marine staff make a difference, one bit of litter at a time

By the time the staff descended on uShaka beach, municipal cleaners had already completed their shifts and the beach appeared to be perfectly clean, but appearances can be deceiving!

Over a two-hour period a total of 178kg or rubbish was collected. A large percentage of this litter was found buried under the sand as the focus was on collecting the smaller pieces of litter not readily seen.

The spirit among the staff was wonderful and it always feels good to be part of a marine celebration where there is so much to celebrate.

Many curious promenade cyclists, runners and walkers joined in the clean-up after they made enquiries and found out about the harmful effects micro-beads and other small items have on marine animals.

uShaka Marine CEO Stella Khumalo and Larry Oellerman of uShaka Sea World

The ongoing challenge is to continue the good work accomplished on World Oceans Day throughout the year and to encourage all South Africans to take pride in their environment.

By picking up at least three items of litter every time we go to the beach or visit a river or take a walk in our communities, along pavements and on road verges, we are preventing such pollution ending up in the oceans where it does immense damage.

“I am so proud of all the staff who came to work early and the beachgoers who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the clean-up,” said Presha Soogram, who organised the uShaka World Oceans Day celebration. “It was a wonderful expression of what can be achieved if we all work together.”

It is estimated that close to 80 percent of the debris found on beaches is washed, blown or dumped from shore. What we found however, was mostly items that a beachgoer would use while enjoying a day at the beach.

The 178kg was primarily made up of micro-beads, pieces of polystyrene, cigarette butts, fishing line, sweet wrappers and pieces of plastic cutlery.

Keeping all harmful litter out of the world’s waters requires us to change our attitudes and actions. Picking up what someone else had discarded takes courage, determination and a constant reminder to take a refuse bag with us wherever we go: “Take 3 for the sea.”

A total of 178kg of rubbish was collected along the beach in just two hours

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