When: 17 September 2022
Time: 09h00 – 11h00
Where: Monwabisi Beach
What to bring: Weather-appropriate clothing, water (in a reusable bottle), reusable gloves (like the ones you’d use for gardening or doing dishes), and your enthusiasm.
Stand a chance to win a prize by guessing the total weight of the trash collected on the day. The Aquarium, and Consol Glass are offering the three closest guesses a lovely Consol Glass reusable #IChanged2050 bottle, a Two Oceans Aquarium reusable shopping bag, and Aquarium tickets as prizes.
What is International Coastal Cleanup Day?
For more than thirty years, on the third Saturday of September, millions of volunteers around the world gather to clean up beaches, rivers and waterways in their communities. The trash that is collected is documented and weighed and all data is collected in a central database. (To access data from previous cleanups click here: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/annual-data-release/ )
What is Trash Bash?
The Two Oceans Aquarium has always supported International Coastal Cleanup Day, but wanted to provide more opportunities for people who wanted to take part in beach cleanups around Cape Town on a regular basis. Since 2018, the Aquarium’s Trash Bash campaign has visited many of Cape Town’s beaches and has had thousands of volunteers spending time to cleanup and record the items found. Trash Bash uses the Dirty Dozen methodology which focuses on 12 items that are often found on beaches. These items, like plastic bags, bottles, straws and sweet wrappers, are all recorded and the data forms part of a scientific study on plastics in the ocean.
At the Trash Bash events, participants are divided into working teams where one person is assigned the role of scribe (using the downloaded app on their phone) and records all of the items that are collected, while the other members of the team are responsible for picking up and identifying the trash. For the Trash Bash on 17 September, the electronic data, along with the total weight of the trash collected, will be sent on for inclusion in the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day report.
Why do we need to clean the beach?
Estimates are that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than fish. Our world ocean is in dire peril, facing a human-made crisis and desperately needs us to turn the tide on plastic and other pollution within the marine environment. Studies have shown that millions of seabirds have ingested plastic and a staggering number of sea animals die each year from either ingesting plastic, or becoming entangled in plastic debris.
Unlike organic materials, plastic does not break down into naturals components. Through exposure to the elements (sun, wind and water), it breaks up into smaller pieces called microplastic. Even when a beach seems completely devoid of litter, taking a closer look, one is very likely to find these tiny bits of plastic everywhere mixed in with the sand. These microplastics end up in the marine environment where they are mistaken for food and consumed by animals as small as microscopic plankton. Humans, being at the top of the food chain, then consume the animals that have eaten plastic, which brings the plastic back onto our plates and into our bodies.
Beach cleanups are vital as they prevent plastic and other trash from being deposited into the ocean. We can all do something to look after the environment, and cleaning a beach is an easy and fun way of making a contribution to, and a connection with, nature. These cleanups also contribute to scientific studies through the data collected.
Cleanups, like Trash Bash and the International Coastal Cleanup Day, are not only good for the environment, they are also important for the people taking part, and the community as a whole. Spending time outside and with like-minded people, creates a sense of responsibility for the environment and brings people together to care for areas within their communities.
For more information about the cleanup on 17 September, please visit https://www.aquarium.co.za/blog/entry/trash-bash-invitation-two-oceans-aquarium-beach-cleanup-cape-town