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The Impact of Cleaner Beaches

Plastic has become seemingly unavoidable, it’s in our homes, our offices, our cars, yards, sidewalks… even playgrounds. Its most common use seems to be that of transporting, packaging, consuming and storing our food, while somewhat ironically it is destroying one of our greatest food sources. Imagine living in a world without shrimp to pair that well chilled white with. Is that a world that you could live in?

That bagged produce, although providing the smallest little extra convenience for us, turns into a superfast jellyfish for some unsuspecting sea creature that may or may not land up on our plate. It’s everywhere you turn, lids, straws, earbuds, holding your lettuce, keeping your oranges together, it’s all around you. I’m sure you’ve seen the shocking internet videos of the impact of various items on sea creatures, like the very viral sea turtle with the straw stuck in its nose. The problem is we think instances like this are isolated, the truth is they are not and they are creating havoc with our environment.

We’re “litter”ally destroying paradise on the daily. Your fishing line that gets caught in the rocks, how long do you think that lasts? 100 years? 1000 years? Cans can stick around for 200 - 400 years on average. Plastic bottles can last for up to 1000 years, bags that don’t get chewed can hang around for well over 200 years. Cotton buds that spend 2 seconds in your ear can land up on a beach for 150 years! Now think about all that cardboard, metal, plastic, sewage, rubber, timber, textiles… think about how much of this actually lands up in your rivers, your oceans, and your beaches!

With as many as 4.5 million cigarette butts entering our oceans every year, 8 million separate items of litter end up in the same place our food lives EVERY DAY! How long until our beaches land up being just plastic? Plastic on beaches has increased by 140% since 1994, but that’s just the plastic that comes back!

Only 15% of ocean trash lands up back on the beach… if that! Think about how much trash you can go through in a day, imagine if just 10% of that lands up on your favourite beach, wouldn’t that make you sad? It’s a pity that International Coastal Clean-up only happens once a year if you ask us.

Plastic is now the most common element found in the ocean, it has become part of our food chain, and the damage it has already begun to cause is irreparable. It is up to those of us who are in the position to make a difference to do so with every opportunity we get. So far we’ve organized and managed 3 beach clean-ups on Blouberg, Milnerton and Strand beaches, and although minor, we feel like we’ve already made a difference. Let’s keep with the flow and keep up the momentum. Watch out for beach clean-ups near you or let us know if you need a hand in your area.

Sources: 

https://www.stayindevon.co.uk/beach-pollution-statistics

http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/12/coastal-clean-up-craze-sweeps-south-africa/#

https://www.divein.com/articles/ocean-pollution/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3reBmO7R1gIVCBQbCh1-7wBnEAAYASAAEgKkp_D_BwE

https://www.worldanimalprotection.org/our-work/animals-wild/sea-change

https://www.environment.co.za/pollution/20-facts-about-ocean-pollution.html