Spike in litter on beaches, Milnerton Lagoon beach problems persist

Photo: Even Frank (Franklin) did his part to help clean the beach.
Despite regular clean-up efforts at Bloubergstrand and Milnerton beaches, the litter problem seems to have reached its peak, environmental activists say.

This after photos of washed-up debris spread like wildfire on social media, with most pointing the finger at the lack of City cleaning crews.

One of the organisations regularly cleaning beaches, Save a Fishie, says they picked up over 600 kg just two weeks ago, “but the litter problem at Milnerton Lagoon Beach seems to persist. Today, during our clean-up event, we encountered an alarming amount of litter scattered across the beach.”

Zoë Prinsloo, organiser of the beach clean-ups, says it’s a big blow to see the effects of waste.

“What’s even more devastating is that we stumbled upon not just one, but two dead seals. It breaks my heart to witness such a bleak impact on the local wildlife.”

This isn’t what should happen.

“Our beaches should be a sanctuary for all creatures, not their final resting place,” she says.

Prinsloo says with the help of eight volunteers, they managed to pick up a massive 168 kg at the most recent clean-up at the lagoon.

“This was our third clean-up in four days in the same area, nearly half a ton of litter picked up this week and still so much left. It’s both sad and maddening at the same time. But we carry on regardless. I must. I owe it to my future grandchildren,” she says.

Volunteers needed

Reports of waste spotted along Bloubergstrand and Sunset Beach streamed in via social media, with many volunteers pledging to help local organisations with clean-ups. Some think the litter comes from the sea.

“I think all this waste comes out of the ocean and not necessarily people dropping them on the shoreline over the weekend. But this too is not a good sign. If the local councillor or organisations dealing with clean-ups can post their events on a notice board, I will be happy to assist,” says Claire Manning.

Caroline Marx, an environmental activist and creator of the Facebook group ReThinkTheStink, says now will be a good time for the City to implement the litter traps.

Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for water and sanitation, says litter booms have been placed in water along roads to try and reduce the solid waste making its way to the beach. “I remember clearly noting this at the last quarterly meeting where we’ve shared the booms placed along the M5,” he says.

However, Marx says these booms only catch some of the floating debris.

“They don’t catch heavier items like nappies and when it rains ,they get submerged and everything flows over or under them. The litter fences put elsewhere seem to work far better,” she noted.

The City says close to 200 000 additional bags of litter were collected across Cape Town last year as part of joint spring clean-up campaign efforts by the City, residents, civil society, schools, and businesses.

This year, the City will scale-up cleaning operations in litter hotspots across the metro again. They encourage residents to organise clean-ups in their areas.

As part of the #SpringCleanCT campaign, a 24-hour toll-free number (0800 110077) is also available for residents to report illegal dumping tip-offs in exchange for a reward where this leads to arrests.

Anthony Benadie, the local ward councillor, says following reports of accumulated waste, mostly plastic, on the beach, he engaged with solid waste to clean up the area.

“This morning (Friday 8 September) I met the teams at the beach and the results look promising. They will be back on Monday. Thanks (residents) Ryan Harris, Andrew Malcolm, Tremaine Thomson and Sonet Soothill for bringing it to the fore,” he said.

How to help

Prinsloo says the community should come together to protect our shores.

“Our beach clean-ups are crucial, but we must also strive for long-term sustainability and responsible waste management. Together, we can build a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations to enjoy,” she says.

Prinsloo invites residents, schools and companies to get involved in clean-ups. Contact save.a.fishie@gmail.com to sponsor clean-ups or volunteer.

By Tyger Burger – Source: www.news24.com

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