Se7en + 1 Steps to a Beach Clean-Up…

So the Summer has finally arrived that means one thing for most of us… Beach days… long and glorious beach days. South Africa has a long and glorious coastline, about 3000km worth of it. It is used for fun and recreation and provides a living to hundreds of South African’s as well. But there is a problem and that is pollution… not just because it is ugly, but it is life threatening to the wildlife and to us as well…


This is Olifantsbos, a beach on the west coast of the Cape Point Nature Reserve.


It is a beach were the local wildlife roam…


And it looks litter free…


But surprisingly enough it definitely wasn’t… so with a group of friends we held a beach clean-up.

Se7en + 1 Steps to a Beach Clean Up…

  1. Understand the Why: Behind every piece of litter is a person, we need to control where our garbage goes carefully. A garbage bag that isn’t tied carefully, litter thrown in the street can all get washed down the drain onto our beaches. It endangers our animals that can get entrapped or that can eat interesting looking plastic. It is dangerous to us, playing on the beach it is very easy to stand on broken glass… Some pollution can become a habitat for beach life, leave that piece of driftwood that has become a home… but it is time for us to reclaim our beaches and to make a fuss about litter in general, as it all ends up on our beautiful beaches.
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  3. Find a Beach: We chose the beach that our Bontebok friends watch over… a place where the Ostriches play and a birders paradise…
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    It isn’t just birds and wildlife that enjoy our beaches…

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  5. Gather a Group of Friends: It is hard work gathering garbage, we found an amazing amount of pollution – even on a protected beach in a marine reserve… there is a lot of hard work and many hands sure do make light work.
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  7. Equip Yourself With Bags: We gave each group a garbage bag to fill… be careful the wind on our beach could have whipped those bags away and we didn’t want to create more of a problem.
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  9. Take Care: Some of the things you find will be just plain dangerous. Make sure there are adults around to help and that the team of cleaners are aware to call for help if they find sharp glass, rusty nails and needles and string they just can’t untangle.
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  11. Get Gathering:
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  13. Document Your Findings: You will find some weird and wonderful things… like this glove and a toothbrush. We found a lot of fishing gut, and heaps of plastic bottle tops. There was a lot of glass in the rocky areas, where folks stopped for picnics, but most of the plastic and litter was brought in by the tide and lay at the top of the beach, along the high tide line. Exactly where the local wildlife would walk and get entangled. Bits of fishing net were found at the shoreline, ready to entrap any birds or animals that live along or feed along the shoreline.
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  15. Share About Your Clean-UP: We popped all our findings onto a data sheet, which you can print off here… You can also take a look what folk find on beaches around the world, prepared to be amazed… what is it about toothbrushes?!!
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There is a fantastic website, the Ocean Conservancy, where you can read tons of information about coastal clean-ups… There is a great PDF booklet about beach clean-ups on the South African coastline here… And if you want to read more about beach clean-ups or join one in South Africa then this is the website to visit.


So if you are planning to be on the beaches this summer, then don’t wait for an event… do a beach clean-up yourself, get some friends together and just do it… We had so much fun and will definitely be doing this again!!!

17 Replies to “Se7en + 1 Steps to a Beach Clean-Up…”

  1. It’s nice to see the good work all over the world I remember here in Nosara,Costa Rica when the community started to feel the necessity of a program which could protect our nature wonders, and just like you’re doing right now this dream become reality. There’s no time to waste when it’s about taking care of our planet, nice work this is a proof that we have no excuses to do it! ūüėČ

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