Green Beach Living

plastic-bags-turtlesPlastics in the ocean are one of the world’s biggest ecological disasters, affecting all sorts of marine life, from the largest of whales to turtles and small fish.

While it may feel like one person can’t do much to make a difference to that sea of plastic floating out there in the Pacific Ocean, there is something practical that each of us can do on a local scale.

Every time you go to the beach for a walk, a picnic or a day in the sun, take along an extra plastic bag… taking more plastic to the beach, you say???

Yes, take a bag, any bag, and fill it with plastic rubbish picked up from the beach. Better still, take one for each member of the family and spend your first ten minutes at the beach on a mini beach clean-up. Collect up those sweet wrappers, plastic bags, odds and ends of torn plastic, disposable spoons, ketchup sachets and even those tiny bits of unidentiifiable degraded plastic.  Then, once you’ve had a day of fun and sunshine, take it away with you and dispose of it safely.

Almost every beach on our coastline has plastic rubbish on it, either from beach-goers or washed up by the tide and all of that plastic that gets washed in, can get washed back out again, creating more rafts of plastic particles that threaten us all.

While your one bagful of rubbish may not make a global difference, the more people who start taking responsibility and cleaning up, the cleaner our beaches will be, and the better chance our local marine life will have to avoid snacking on a fatal piece of plastic.

International Coastal Clean Up Day

coastal-cleanup-dayThis Saturday 17th September has been designated International Coastal Cleanup Day. It’s an annual event raising awareness of the problems of marine pollution and doing something practical to help.

Volunteers not only collect litter from disposable cups to fishing nets to cigarette butts and so on, but catalogue the data so that action can be taken to try and reduce the amounts of litter in the ocean and on beaches. Last year there were 9 million people involved worldwide and they managed to collect more than 3.2 million kilograms of litter from beaches in more than 100 countries.

If you’re in Cape Town you can join the Aquarium’s coastal cleanup in Muizenberg, or contact www.cleanup-sa.co.za. for details of other cleanup events happening on the same day. We’ll be heading to Big Bay for the cleanup event there.

Electrolux Vac from the SeaAnother recycling initiative we like is Electrolux’s Vac from the Sea. They have created several signature vacuum cleaners made from recycled plastic collected on beaches and oceans around the world. They are now in the process of making a South African model. Unfortunately these cool vacs are not for sale, but for awareness and promotional campaigns, but they’ve got the idea right and are aiming to increase the amount of recycled plastics in their retail range.