Trash Bash: Two Oceans Aquarium beach cleanup

2018-03-13 20:00 - Saara Mowlana
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Cape Town - Get down and dirty to clean up Sunset Beach in Bloubergstrand with Two Oceans Aquarium this Human Rights Day, 21 March. 

This will be the first of the aquarium's new regular beach cleanup events that they will be hosting throughout the year.

For the past eight years the aquarium has observed and taken part in the annual International Coastal Cleanup day in September, but this year they've decided to do more and want you to be involved!

WATCH: Two Oceans Aquarium releases Holy Moly the sunfish, but where is Yoshi the turtle?

Why beach cleanups are good for you too

Apart from being good for the environment, beach cleanups are also good for humans. The experience of being on the beach is cathartic for many, a jol for others and a cleanse for some too. 

According to the Aquarium's press release the cleanup is so much more than just that: "It's actually a chance to have a ball, to spend time with friends and family, to breathe in some fresh air and feel the sand between our toes, and to leave a slightly better, slightly more informed person."

Helen Lockhart, Two Oceans Aquarium Communications & Sustainability Manager, adds that cleaning up leaves participants feeling important and like they're making an effective change in the world. 

"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 instils a sense of responsibility towards their surrounds. Cleanups also get us outdoors and to appreciate the beauty of our surrounds," says Lockhart. 

WHY NOT: Save a loggerhead turtle by adopting one at Two Oceans Aquarium

The Trash Bash: much more than just a cleanup?

Apart from the personal and environmental perks of doing a beach cleanup, the Trash Bash will also be contributing to important scientific research by following the Dirty Dozen data collection method.

Using this method, attendees will work together in groups and record everything collected. Volunteers are implored to pay specific attention to 12 pre-selected items, including plastic shopping bags, earbud sticks, and sweet wrappers. 

At the end of each cleanup, the data collected will be collated and will contribute to research into the tracking of different sources of marine litter. The Aquarium is receiving support and assistance from Beach Co-op, which is a non-profit organisation driving change in single-use plastic through integrated surveys and research-ready beach cleanups.

On the day, the team will also be giving out some spot prizes, including five pairs of transparent glass straws, two pairs of ocean-themed glass straws and two pairs of glass swizzle sticks, all sponsored by Skunk Glass.

Watch the video of the December cleanup held by the Aquarium below:

READ: SA's Two Oceans Aquarium joins 100 aquariums in anti-marine litter drive

Plastic Pollution & the ocean:

The reason this event is so pertinent is due to the lasting damage done to oceans, marine and birdlife by plastic waste.

"Our oceans are facing a human-made plastic catastrophe. With estimates being that by 2050 there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean, the time is now to make a difference and clean up our acts."

Studies indicate that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from plastic ingestion. Plastic has permeated into the deepest recesses of our natural world and has even entered our food chain.

"Plastic doesn't break down; it doesn't 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 at the lowest level," the release elaborates.

Watch Akzonobel's video on the December beach cleanup event below:

SEE: #EcoTravels: It’s time to ditch the plastic

What can we do to stop this pollution in our oceans?

80% of plastic found in the oceans originates on land, and according to the aquarium team, 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."

Trash Bash details:

  • Date: Wednesday 21 March 2018 (a public holiday - Human Rights Day)
  • Time: 09h00 to 11h00
  • Location: Sunset Beach, Blouberg
  • What to bring: Sunblock, a hat, water (in a reusable bottle), and reusable gloves (like the ones you'd use for gardening or doing dishes)

CHECK OUT THIS ALERT: Leave seal pups on Cape Town beaches alone

The following dates have been set for other Trash Bash events in 2018:

  • 21 March – 09h00 to 11h00 (Public holiday - Human Rights Day)
  • 9 June – time to be confirmed
  • 15 September – time to be confirmed
  • 8 December – time to be confirmed