As we usher in spring, which bringing us some sunshine and fresh blooming flowers, we also inch closer towards summer holidays and never-ending beach days. The only downside of this is those moments on the beach when you realize people haven’t taken the time to care about the beach they’re sitting on. Cigarette ends, straws, sucker wrappers and lollipop sticks… these are the enemies of our ocean which you can find littered everywhere if you look a little closer.
Globally over 400 million tons of plastic is produced every year, it is estimated that 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in our seas every year on top of the estimated 150 million tons that is currently in the ocean. At this rate it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish!
In South Africa, approximately 94% of beach pollution is plastic with plastic used for packaging accounting for 77% of the litter found on our beaches. Litter in our oceans not only impacts marine life, it can also affect humans, and especially for those who depend on the ocean and the coast for their livelihood.
Global plastic waste management and recycling is currently nowhere near on par with the speed of production, this leads to overflowing landfills and in some cases the need to burn off waste plastic waste for space management instead of reusing and recycling.
One way to further reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and on our shores is to start living a plastic free life. We can do this through reducing our consumption of plastic bottled beverages, using reusable eco-shopping bags at the grocery store, and refusing the use of straws in our beverages.
If you start looking at reducing waste, you’ll soon realize how much waste is generated by you as an individual quite quickly and the effort will become more and more challenging. Remember to take it one step at a time, and strive for a 1% improvement daily. Refusing single-use disposable plastics will become one of you biggest challenges when you first start out.
In the meantime you can join us for international beach clean-up day coming up on Saturday, 16th of September 2017, we thought we would do our part and get a big head start to make a real difference to our coastlines. So far we’ve hosted 2 beach cleanups, one in Strand and one in Blouberg, and we are calling on you, the public, to get involved for a nationwide coastal cleanup in line with International #CoastalCleanupDay.
Follow and join in the conversation on social media with #beachhousecleanup, to help us monitor the movement and see what kind of impact has been made through our efforts. Mark Saturday, 16th of September 2017 in your diary and head to whichever beach you can get to. Together, we can make a difference; for ourselves and for our oceans.
Sources: My Plastic Life, Coastal Care, The Conservation, WWF, Worldwatch, Oceans Conservancy, Life Without Plastic