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(Mostly) Plastic Pollution on Beaches

It was World Environment Day on Wednesday 5th June.  GreenHome joined Recycle 1st, Postwink Recycling Products and Earth Child for a beach cleanup along Milnerton Beach in Cape Town.

What we found was that most of the rubbish we picked up was plastic pollution that had come from the sea. It had been broken down into small particles and washed up onto the beach.
When we arrived we saw the City of Cape Town beach cleaners were in action in from of the hotel and we were worried whether there would be any rubbish left for us to pick up.  We had nothing to fear, as soon as we got down onto the beach and started looking, we realised we had plenty to keep us busy.
A happy sunny day was enjoyed by all.  Especially after the long, long, rainy, stormy, hailing spell Cape Town had just experienced. We collected 16 bags of 72kg of rubbish which got taken off to Recycle 1st for recycling.
This is what Catherine, Our MD, has to say about it. “It was really great to take the time to pick up litter that upsets me so much to see. It felt good. Although the exercise is a drop in the ocean of the amount of waste that needs to be tackled, it got conversations going, and consciousness raised – which was valuable. “
Here are her observations from the exercise.
  • It looks like most of this rubbish is being dumped by the ocean onto the beach / as opposed to people littering on the beach. Are our oceans really that dirty?! And where is all the rubbish coming from?
  • Almost all the rubbish is plastic.
  • A lot of the plastic is broken down into smaller pieces (see pic). This makes it difficult to clean up. And I think this is what fish and birds mistake as food – and end up ingesting.
  • When we got there, there were municipal workers cleaning the beach in front of the hotels (Lagoon Beach Hotel). But not in front of non-tourist areas – where we ended up cleaning.