A beach cleanup in progress at Robben Island as part of the 2018 International Coastal Clean-Up Day
Top pollutants on South Africa’s beaches

Results of 2018 International Coastal Clean-Up released

Increase in the amount of disposable diapers found illegally dumped

THE results of the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up have just been released. During the 2018 event, 19 563 volunteers collected 241 425 items nationally in audited clean-ups that took place along the country’s 2 500km coastline.

Although this is the official figure, many more volunteers and kilograms of litter were removed at unaudited clean-ups that took place throughout South Africa and throughout the month of September.

Top pollutants on South Africa’s beaches
According to John Kieser, sustainability manager of Plastics|SA and Western Cape ICC coordinator of this annual event, the most recent results showed that broken down plastic pieces, foam pieces, cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers (such as chip packets and sweet wrappers), glass pieces, beverage bottles, straws and lolly sticks continue to be the biggest pollutants on our country’s beaches.

Asthma pumps were the most prolific medical items found in the three Cape provinces, whilst in Kwazulu-Natal (especially in urban clean-ups), it was disposable syringes.

Kieser added that the increase in the amount of disposable diapers found illegally dumped (especially around informal settlements) was another area of concern, whilst nationally, approximately 2,5km of rope/string and 2,8km of monofilament line (fishing line) were also removed from our beaches.

The plastics and packaging industry taking action
Several weeks are spent on pre-event logistics (such as distributing bags, gloves and other support material) to ensure that the material reaches the 400 coordinators nationwide and that South Africa’s involvement in the International Coastal Clean-up takes place without a hitch.

“Without the commitment and involvement of our partners, last year’s event would not have been possible. In a time of harsh economic conditions, when companies find themselves having to rethink supporting projects such as these, it is encouraging to see the continued commitment from large corporates such as Plastics|SA, Dow, Sasol, Coca-Cola, Kelpak, Pick n Pay, Toyota Algoa Bay, UNITRANS, PETCO (PET Recycling Company), POLYCO (Polyolefin Recycling Company), SAVA (SA Vinyls Association), the Polystyrene Association of SA, Tuffy Manufacturing, Woolworths, the National Recycling Forum, the Glass Recycling Company, the Paper Recycling Association of SA, Metpac-SA, Tetrapak, ROSE Foundation, Department of Environmental Affairs, Ocean Conservancy and the African Marine Waste Network,” Kieser said.

Interesting statistics from the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up

  • 4 300km were covered to distribute material and arrange logistics over a four-week period.
  • 50 000 refuse bags were distributed during September 2018
  • 10 800 pairs of gloves provided
  • 80 plastic buckets and 85 garden rakes provided by Addis