South Africa commemorates International Coastal Clean-up Day
Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth's surface, connecting the world, providing some of the most important and basic economic, social, cultural, and environmental functions, with many untapped natural resources and a myriad of ecosystem services. South Africa is a maritime nation with jurisdiction over one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world. It is uniquely surrounded by three ocean spaces (the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans) offering a resource rich and biologically diverse environment.
In order to realise the full socio-economic potential of our ocean resources, it is necessary to strengthen management and conservation efforts to control negative human impacts on our ocean resources. The United Nations has identified pollution, especially pollution originating from land, as one of the “big stressors” to the health and integrity on marine ecosystems.
Estimates suggesting that there are currently over 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of ocean have been reported by UNEP in 2005. South Africa is not immune to the problem of and the effects posed by marine litter.
In 2016 – 2017, the department began discussions on how best to tackle the marine litter problem currently affecting coastal end users. A conceptual framework for an initiative that puts source to sea governance in addressing marine litter was discussed. The characteristics of a Source to Sea approach involves catchment wide or river basin wide interventions.
The Source to Sea Initiative will be piloted in the following river systems in the province of KwaZulu-Natal that were identiﬁed as a priority areas requiring waste management interventions: ·
- uMngeni River into Blue Lagoon/ Durban North Beach;
- uMlazi River into Cuttings Beach;
- uMbilo River (into the Durban Bay);
- uMhlatuzana River (into the Durban Bay); and
- aManzimnyama River (into the Durban Bay).
Interventions will include the deployment of resources such as litter traps to recover litter from the identiﬁed priority rivers; increasing educational activities and awareness raising campaigns and getting commitment from stakeholders such as municipality to improve waste collection in the identiﬁed areas. These interventions are intertwined with the objecive of the Good Green Deeds programme as well.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) launched the Good Green Deeds Programme on 08 March 2019 in East London, Eastern Cape Province. As part of this campaign the department seeks to highlight the importance of oceans and the role they play in the life of all South Africans.
This year South Africa will join the world in partaking in ICCD by launching the Source to Sea Programme as well as announcing the new cycle of the Working for the Coast programme. Every third Saturday of September, South Africa joins many coastal countries in commemorating the International Coastal Clean-up Day. ICCD is the world’s largest volunteer clean-up event of its kind, which began more than 30 years ago.
ICCD rallies together communities with the common goal of collecting and documenting marine litter around global coastlines. This enables scientists to gather valuable data on the extent of marine pollution.
The theme for plastics is carried through International Coastal Clean-up Day. It is thus important and relevant that the department will continue to carry through on the theme to address marine pollution and waste management during the launch of the new cycle of the Working for the Coast programme and the Source to Sea pilot project.
The International Coastal Clean-up Day (WFTC/Source to Sea Pilot Project) will be implemented under the theme and key message detailed below:
Theme: “Nature knows no waste”. Key Message: A litter free land is a litter free ocean.