World Ocean’s Day 2017

In light of World Ocean’s Day on the 8th June, 7Seasrope, White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects, got together to clean up a very long stretch of one our local beaches – all the way from Franskraal beach to Die Gruis.

With so much rubbish ending up in our oceans it is important that everyone makes an effort to clean up our beaches and oceans as much as possible. The theme for World Ocean’s Day this year was ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’ – as life on earth is dependent on the ocean. As well as being home to over one million different species, the deep blue sea employs millions of workers, feeds billions of people and contributes trillions to the world economy. Despite being so important to us and to our survival, the oceans are often taken for granted with exploitation of species, habitat encroachment, illegal and poor fishing practices, pollution and marine debris all being pressing issues.

With regards to marine debris or marine rubbish, it is estimated that an approximate 635,000 tonnes of rubbish enters our oceans every year according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Much of this rubbish ends up on our beaches, washed in with the waves and tides, some of it sinks, some of it accumulates, and some is eaten by marine animals that mistake it for food. It is thought that over 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles, and over one million seabirds are killed each year due to plastic ingestion. Fish have also shown to ingest plastic and it is believed that if you eat an average amount of seafood you could be ingesting up to 11,000 particles of plastic yourself every year.

Studies have found that if we continue to dump rubbish in the ocean in the way that we do, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2040.Given that more than every second breath we breathe is dependent on oxygen coming from plankton from the oceans, it is concerning that we are moving towards oceans where you will find more plastic particles than plankton – the very thing we depend on for our oxygen.

7Seasrope is a local company set up by Andre Roux and Jennifer Tomuschatto help clean up the local beaches working with the community and volunteer projects. Not only do they want to clean up the local area, but they also strive to raise awareness in the community and around the world and re-use as much of the debris picked up as possible. They have started off with recycling all ropes, fishing lines and fishing nets, making them into bracelets that you can purchase online or through their App. Proceeds from the products sold are then donated to different marine conservation and research initiatives.

World Ocean’s Day provided a great opportunity for 7Seasrope to hold their first big clean up. Already working to do clean-ups themselves over the past few months, covering the area from Franskraal to Kleinbaai, this time they teamed up with the volunteers and staff from White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects to clean up the area from Franskraal beach to Die Gruis, covering a stretch of almost 5km on the 9th June 2017.

Over the course of just a few hours the volunteers collected 63kg of rubbish. Of this, 28kg was plastic, 23kg was glass, 18kg was rope and 5kg was metal. The beginning stretch of the clean up from Franskraal beach was found to be quite clean, but as we approached Die Gruis huge amounts of rubbish and debris were found. Some of the main culprits were plastic straws, lollipop sticks, glow sticks, polystyrene pieces, plastic bottles, glass bottles, rope and fishing line.

Andre Roux founder of 7Seasrope rope stated at the end of the day that “there was still a lot of work to be done in the area, we could have continued to clean up for hours”. Next time they intend to start at Die Gruis and make their way towards Pearly Beach. The accumulation of rubbish in this area was found to be incredibly high, so they intend to focus on this areain the near future as much as possible.

7Seasrope will be holding beach clean up events throughout the year, but intend to conduct weekly beach clean ups with the help of White Shark Diving Company and White Shark Projects staff and volunteers. Whilst their focus will be on Pearly Beach for a while, with a lot of cleaning up to do in that area, they also intend to work on all local coastline areas, stretching all the way from Die Plaat to Pearly Beach. Get in touch with Andre Roux by e-mail on [email protected] to find our more information and learn how to get involved!

Written by:
Mary Rowlinson, Marine Biologist from White Shark Diving Company
Tom Slough, Marine Biologist from White Shark Projects.

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