At Sea the Bigger Picture, we believe that education is the answer to lessening the effects of plastic pollution. Keep reading to learn more about plastic pollution in South Africa and what you can do to help.
How Is Plastic Pollution Affecting South Africa’s Shores?
The sad truth is that more than 80% of marine pollution originates from land-based sources. In South Africa, as little as 16% of plastic is recycled. The rest of the plastic winds up at landfill locations where they easily turn up in rivers due to factors such as littering, poor waste management, overflowing landfills and limited recycling infrastructure.
The problem with plastic is that it can live in the ocean for centuries so every addition has a dramatic compounding effect. It’s heartbreaking to think about the number of marine animals affected by waste – plastics are often mistaken for food and ingested with grave consequence while marine and fishing waste is responsible for countless entanglements.
As humans that thrive off the environment and are quite literally dependent on it for our survival, it should be each of our individual goals to curb our plastic dependency and educate ourselves on potential alternatives. Examples are paper, cardboard (FSC certified and recycled paper products are a winner) and more highly recyclable materials such as metal and glass.
Plastic attracted the attention of consumers in the 1970s when it was considered the saviour of packaging. We have since become highly dependent not only on the convenience but the low cost durability of this easy to produce material. Ironically, plastics very nature and its rise to popularity are what makes it so difficult to dispose of, demand and continued support of these products make reducing manufacturing especially difficult.
What is #SeaTheBiggerPicture doing about it?
Defenders of the Blue is our keystone community program which introduces learners to the fascinating and mysterious world of marine life that inhabits South African shores. Engaging with children from across the Cape Metropole, our tactile beach and rock pool based snorkelling course is aimed at cultivating curiosity, leadership and teamwork skills through encouraging a passion for the underwater world and citizen science at large.
We believe that science and nature are for all, stoking a love for nature (specifically the ocean with us) encourages the next generation to defend it as we do.
To be a part of our Plastic Pollution Education, like our beach clean up events, contact us. Get involved with our projects and initiatives, take a virtual stroll through our website and social media. We’d love to chat about how you can not only help in reducing plastic in sunny South Africa but also taking part in other initiatives with similar education and community orientated goals.