Deputy Minister Thomson leads International Coastal Clean-Up Day
20 September 2014
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has today 20 September 2014, led the International Coastal Clean-up Day in Cuttings Beach Merebank, Durban where over 1877kg of litter was collected. The collected litter consist of small paper, cigarettes and polystyrene packaging.
The clean-up activity is in support of the annual International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICCD) which was initiated by the Ocean Conservancy and has grown from humble beginnings on the Texas shoreline in 1986, to today where more than 100 countries participate in cleaning their oceans. The Department’s ICCD theme for this year was “communities creating waves of change’’ and the event was used as the platform to address issues concerning coastal pollution as well as to stimulate change in the behavioural patterns that negatively affect the marine environment.
This clean-up is aimed at encouraging and involving citizens to remove marine/ beach litter and collect data on such litter and debris from the coastal areas. A 2013 study conducted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, reported that 70% of small fish caught from the estuaries (iSipingo, being one of them) and Durban habour in eThekwini showed evidence of plastic litter in their gut.
South Africa has been participating in the ICCD event for 18 years and information on the litter and debris removed from the beaches has being forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy to form part of the global beach litter database (Ocean Trash Index) annually. This information assists in finding solutions on litter management from land-based sources as well as from offshore sources.
Delivering the key note address, Deputy Minister Thomson encouraged the community to take responsibility for land-based litter and participate in finding solutions to combat the problem. “South Africa has over 3000 km of beautiful coastlines and some of the most diverse environments of the world. There are many benefits derived from theses coastal environments but because of constant development along our coastal environment, it is under threat and awareness raising, specifically through litter collection, is of utmost importance to educate communities about the impacts that litter has on the marine environment. This is what this coastal clean-up aims to achieve, to make us take responsibility for the litter we create on land and become more aware of the impact it has on the marine ecosystem,’’ she said.
The Department of Environmental Affairs, together with the support from eThekwini Municipality, Plastics SA, WESSA, ABI, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, brought this important clean-up event to the Cuttings Merebank Beach and the iSipingo Estuary and Beach.
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