South African harbour town of Gansbaai, famous for shark-cage diving and whale watching, is taking action to address plastic pollution by installing drainage nets to catch plastic waste.
The nets have stopped more than 370kg of litter from floating into the river and ultimately the sea, since they were installed by Dyer Island Conservation Trust last month. They are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by storm water from the local road network, from flowing into the marine environment.
Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics Tours and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, said: ““We noted the pollution from the storm water drain in the Gansbaai harbour, whilst on a clean-up. The outlet leads straight to nearby rock pools and into the ocean. The kelp that traps some of the waste makes it difficult to clean and this too is ultimately washed out to sea.”
Dyer Island Conservation Trust has been doing clean-ups in the area for 20 years, and an estimated 80% of the waste collected during the clean-ups is plastic.
Wilfred Chivell added: “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. Unfortunately, most of the waste will probably not be suitable for recycling, but we will do this where possible.”
The Trust, which launched the project to protect the marine life in the area, hopes to turn trash into treasure with art works and educational displays.
The net will be monitored by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust team over the next few months to assess the “catch”, with hopes to roll out the project in the Overstrand and throughout South Africa.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com