Join together with other volunteers and fight against plastic pollution in our oceans at the Two Oceans Aquarium “Trash Bash” beach clean up event on 15 September as a contribution to International Coastal Cleanup Day.
The clean up will take place on Sunset Beach, Blouberg from 10:00 – 12:00 and make a positive difference to our oceans while also contributing to scientific research.
 
The world’s oceans are facing a human-made plastic catastrophe.
By 2050 there will be more plastic – by weight – than fish in the ocean, and now is the time to make a difference and clean up our wasteful ways.
Studies have shown that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic, and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from this. Plastic has permeated into the deepest recesses of our natural world and has even entered our food chain in the form of the seafood and fish we consume.
 
Plastic does not break down; it does not degrade and become part of the natural system again. In fact, plastic breaks up. It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes small enough, not only for small fish to mistake it for food, but research has found that even plankton is now mistaking this “forever material” for food and consuming it, introducing it into the food chain even at the lowest levels.
 
The question now is: What can we do to stop this pollution of our oceans?
Considering that 80% of litter found in the oceans originates from land, the answer is actually quite simple – we can intervene in the cycle of pollution entering the oceans via land, by removing it from the beaches and preventing it from entering the water in the first place.
 
In the past, the Two Oceans Aquarium has always supported International Coastal Cleanup Day.  “Trash Bash” is the Aquarium’s campaign for hosting quarterly beach cleanups, to grow attendance of these cleanups and to embed them in Cape Town’s community culture.
“Cleaning up isn’t just good for the environment, it is also good for those taking part. It leaves participants feeling that they are making a difference, playing their part and being responsible for something as fragile, yet incredibly important as the ocean.  The outcome of these cleanups is often much bigger than just a cleaner beach, as it changes people’s view of their role within the environment and instills a sense of responsibility towards their surrounds. Cleanups also get us outdoors and to appreciate the beauty of our surrounds” said Helen Lockhart, Communications and Sustainability Manager for the Two Oceans Aquarium.
On the day, the “Dirty Dozen” approach will be used where attendees work together in groups and record everything collected, but pay specific attention to 12 pre-selected items such as plastic shopping bags, earbud sticks, sweet wrappers, etc. Each group will have a scribe who will record the items collected. At the end of the cleanup, the data will be collected and will contribute to research into the tracking of different sources of marine litter.
 
Everyone who wishes to attend the cleanup is asked to bring along their own water (in reusable bottles) as well as reusable gloves, a bucket to collect the litter in and to wear both sunscreen and a hat.
Picture: Two Oceans Aquarium

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