The largest national and voluntary cleanup in history will take place along the Namibian coast on International Coastal Cleanup Day on 15 September.
On 15 September the more than 1,000 volunteers from schools, environmental groups, companies, government institutions and the Namibian Defence Force will take to the ‘hot spot’ beaches, pick up trash and register the different items on data cards from 08h00.
Rubbish will be collected at central points, weighed, sorted, recycled or dumped at municipal sites, while the data will be consolidated for the whole of Namibia.
According to Oceans Conservancy the estimated time for products to decompose are:
fishing line: 600 years
plastic bottles: 450 years
aluminium cans: 200 years
plastic bags: 1 – 20 years.
Rod Braby, Coordinator of the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project (Nacoma), says more than a thousand volunteers are expected to clean up prominent beach areas at Oranjemund, Lüdertiz, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Wlotzkasbaken, Henties Bay and the Skeleton Coast Park.
One of the targets is to surpass the 4, 800 kg rubbish 832 learners, teachers and other volunteers collected on International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2010.
The event also serves as a platform to make Namibians, visitors, the marine industry and passing sea transport aware that the responsibility rests with them to curb littering, pollution and to keep the country’s beaches clean.
“The ideal would be to collect less and less rubbish on such days, as this would indicate that awareness-raising and education efforts would be bearing fruits,” Braby said.
Oceans Conservancy Ocean Conservancy heads the world’s most astounding grass roots annual cleanup effort and Saturday, 15 September will mark the 27th international cleanup. Oceans Conservancy emphasises that trash jeopardizes the health of the ocean, coastline, economy and people. Last nearly 600,000 people picked up more than 4 million kg of trash along 32,000 km of coastlines.
“We think this can and will look different in the future. By working together to find solutions, we will take significant steps forward in understanding and preventing ocean trash. Every piece of trash that is picked up during the cleanup should be a challenge for change. This problem is human-generated and preventable,” Ocean Conservancy states.
Braby said another important aim of the cleanup is to collect data on the types of rubbish collected. This will provide a snapshot of what is found on our beaches and coastline for research and prevention measure purposes.
During the 2010 Cleanup the most prevalent items along the Namibian coast were: plastic bags, glass and plastic beverage bottles, beverage cans, paper bags, fishing line, caps, lids and food wrappers. It would be safe to state that most of these items were left there by visitors to the beaches.
This event forms part of Coastal Biodiversity Week, Part 2, consisting of various awareness- raising events between 15 and 22 September.