Plastic pollution is being stopped in its tracks in the little town of Gansbaai, with a new net system being deemed a first in SA.
Inspired by a project in Australia, Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics Tours and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, realised the need for this unique net system placed over storm water drain outlets to be place in the Habour - notorious for plastic pollution.
Together Overstrand Municipality and Marine Dynamics - a shark cage diving company operational since 2005 and championing marine eco-system conservation and research programmes at the southern-most tip of Africa - will monitor this new project's effectiveness.
With 63 storm water outlets in Gansbaai alone, this project will be a long-term collaborative effort with the Overstrand Municipality, with an initial focus on the most problematic areas.
Cost is also a determining factor, with the first net estimated at R5 000 - however this will vary according "to the net cost and the attachment piece that is made" and the resources required for the ongoing cleaning and maintenance which is "not easily measurable".
The nets are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by storm water from the local road network, from flowing into the marine environment.
“We have been doing cleans up for twenty years and 80% of the waste is plastic. Dyer Island Conservation Trust is the first port of call for marine animal rescues and strandings in the Gansbaai area and we have witnessed first-hand the impact on our marine wildlife. We hope that through this project we can minimise this impact by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system," says Wilfred.
"Unfortunately, most of the waste will probably not be suitable for recycling, but we will do this where possible. This is a worldwide problem and our dream is to roll this out in the Overstrand and in South Africa.”
The net will be monitored by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust team over the next few months to assess the ‘catch’.
"During rainy season it would be need to be checked daily but this would vary. Right now we are documenting the waste so the Dyer Island Conservation Trust is helping clean but ultimately this role would fall to the Overstrand Municipality."
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