How can we tackle pol­lu­ti­on?

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus -

With much of the ve­ge­ta­ti­on burnt cle­an due to the fi­res it is be­co­ming ap­pa­rent how much rub­bish has been dum­ped, thro­wn out or sim­ply left e­ver­y­w­he­re c­lo­se to hu­man ha­bi­ta­ti­on, says A­nel de Bruin from the Knys­na Wild­li­fe Fund.

“Ta­ke a d­ri­ve up to Brenton or e­ven R­hee­nen­dal, and you will no­ti­ce a­ny­thing from bro­ken bott­les to emp­ty ci­ga­ret­te pac­kets lying next to the ro­ad,” she says.

She re­la­tes that in an ef­fort to cle­an up the rub­bish, va­ri­ous com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in the Brenton a­rea ha­ve ar­ran­ged cle­an-up e­vents, “but the sad thing is you would cle­an an a­rea and a week la­ter the­re would be new plas­tic and glass bott­les, po­lys­ty­re­ne con­tai­ners and plas­tic pac­kets lying e­ver­y­w­he­re”.

On 9 Sep­tem­ber, one such cle­an-up was or­ga­ni­sed by the Knys­na Wild­li­fe Pro­ject (KWP), but the w­ho­le thing was in­spi­red by “an in­cre­di­ble pen­si­o­ner” from the Brenton a­rea, Gill Hogg.

E­very single day, says De Bruin, Hogg ta­kes a small bag, walks do­wn to the be­ach and sifts through the sand picking up small pie­ces of plas­tic. She has wit­nes­sed ma­ny de­ad ma­ri­ne li­fe on the be­ach, four se­als, and six se­a­bi­rds, a­mong ot­hers. The­re was e­ven an in­stan­ce w­he­re a Ca­pe Cor­mo­rant was caug­ht up in fish gut: she wa­ved do­wn a gent­le­man run­ner on the be­ach, u­sed his T-shirt to grab the bi­rd and bit the fish gut off with her own teeth.

“The worst was w­hen we ac­tu­al­ly wal­ked do­wn to the be­ach… To be ho­nest I ex­pected a few plas­tic bags and won­de­red if the­re would be e­nough ‘work’ if 50 pe­op­le pit­ched up. On­ly six did. The re­a­li­ty w­hen we got the­re was qui­te dif­fe­rent. Thou­sands if not hund­reds of thou­sands of litt­le pie­ces of plas­tic is smot­her­ing t­his Blue Flag Be­ach. From bott­le caps to e­ar­buds, thou­sands of litt­le round sea-e­ro­ded pie­ces of plas­tic, the si­ze of a pin­he­ad or smal­ler,” says De Bruin.

Con­si­de­ring that so­me plas­tic can ta­ke up to 1 000 y­e­ars to bi­o­de­gra­de, the­se pie­ces of plas­tic is bre­a­king up in­to smal­ler pie­ces cre­a­ting a mi­crosco­pic tox­ic slud­ge that is poi­so­ning the ma­ri­ne li­fe, she says.

“En­te­ring the hu­man food chain, plas­tic has been di­rect­ly lin­ked to a­ny­thing from he­art di­se­a­se to Al­z­hei­mer’s,” De Bruin says.

“The ti­me is now! S­ho­wing pe­op­le the pol­lu­ti­on on the be­a­ches is on­ly put­ting a plas­ter on a much big­ger wound. It all starts at ho­me with the op­por­tu­ni­ty to te­ach our child­ren a­bout the im­por­tan­ce of fyn­bos, soil e­ro­si­on and, mo­re im­por­tant­ly, the pol­lu­ti­on ca­ta­strop­he that we are fa­cing, and how it all starts at ho­me,” she adds.

In as­so­ci­a­ti­on with the Knys­na Wild­li­fe Pro­ject, the Knys­na Ba­sin Pro­ject and Knys­na P­ri­ma­ry S­chool a­not­her such ef­fort was put to­get­her. On 26 Sep­tem­ber, the Gra­de 6 le­ar­ners wal­ked from Brenton to Buf­fa­lo Bay to cle­an up the plas­tic, w­hi­le being e­du­ca­ted. Louw Claas­sens from the Knys­na Ba­sin Pro­ject was on hand to do a quick pre­sen­ta­ti­on with the child­ren.

“The a­mount of rub­bish the kids col­lected was as­toun­ding and frank­ly very con­cer­ning, from can­vas co­vers to ca­me­ra stands, bott­le caps to w­ho­le rub­bish bins. The­se young­sters car­ried or drag­ged it all the way al­ong the 7km stretch be­t­ween Brenton and Buf­fa­lo Bay. Well do­ne, guys!” com­mends De Bruin.

* Mo­re in­fo: A­nel de Bruin 082 610 2667.

– Sup­p­lied

The child­ren from Knys­na P­ri­ma­ry S­chool help cle­an the be­ach.

Louw Claas­sens from the Knys­na Ba­sin Pro­ject in­forms the child­ren from Knys­na P­ri­ma­ry S­chool of the dan­gers that plas­tic and ot­her ma­te­ri­als that end up in the o­ce­an can cau­se.

P­ho­tos: Sup­p­lied

Thou­sands of litt­le round sea-e­ro­ded pie­ces of plas­tic, the si­ze of a pin­he­ad or smal­ler, are being found on be­a­ches.

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