File photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The Two Oceans Acquarium has called on everyone who cares about the well-being of the oceans and the environment to take part in its "trash bash" clean-up of the Monwabisi Beach coastline near Khayelitsha.

All that volunteers will need to bring to the two-hour clean-up on May 25, from 9am to 11am, will be their favourite sun hats and sunblock, water in a reusable bottle, and reusable hand gloves.

“We want to do more to tackle plastic pollution in our waterways and we want you to join us,” said the aquarium’s communications and sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart.

“Cleaning up isn’t just good for the environment, it is also good for those taking part.

“It leaves participants feeling that they are making a difference, playing their part and being responsible for something as fragile, yet incredibly important as the ocean,” she added.

The Two Oceans Aquarium Trash Bash is supported by Beach Co-op, a non-profit organisation driving change in single-use plastic through integrated surveys and research-ready beach clean-ups, said Lockhart.

She said the Trash Bash contributes to important scientific research by following the Dirty Dozen data collection method, which involved the 12 litter items that were commonly found on the beaches.

These include carrier bags, chip packets, cigarette lighters, cooldrink bottles, cooldrink lids, cotton buds, fishing lines, light sticks, plastic lollipop sticks, straws, sweet wrappers and water bottles.

At the end of each clean-up, the data is collated and contributes to research tracking the different sources of marine litter.

“Plastic doesn’t break down, it doesn’t degrade and become part of the natural system again. In fact, plastic breaks up.

“It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes small enough, not only for small fish to mistake it for food, but research has found that even plankton is now mistaking this “forever material” for food and consuming it, introducing it into the food chain at the lowest level,” said Lockhart.

Cape Times