How to help our seas on International Coastal Cleanup Day

Posted on 11 September 2017

This week (11 to 17 September 2017) is officially Cleanup & Recycle SA Week and we want to keep our beautiful South African heritage litter-free.

It’s estimated that 350kg of plastic waste enters the ocean every second. If things don’t change by 2045 (only 28 years from now) there could be as much at 600kg of waste entering the ocean every second.

Turtles are super susceptible to eating and choking on plastic bags, which look like jelly fish in the big blue.

The plastic bag is said to have an average ‘working life’ of 15 minutes – the other stats are just as horrifying. Help deliver a wave of change to our shores (South Africa is home to nearly 1500km of coastline) on International Coastal Cleanup Day and help pick up plastic littering one of these spots in SA on Saturday 16 September 2017.

Also read: Marine conservation: how you can get involved.


What is International Coastal Cleanup Day?

For the past 20 years the International Coastal Cleanup initiative has helped to raise awareness on marine pollution, inadequate waste management and highlights the ever-increasing need for recycling and non-littering in South Africa.

The South African plastics and packaging industry spearhead the annual Cleanup and Recycle SA Week and almost 120000 volunteers take part in a huge series of cleanups along roads, near schools and in various communities across the country, making sure as much as possible of the waste collected is recycled. What is marine waste? Anything from oil to tiny pieces of plastic found in some body washes. Read the full press release from Plastics SA here.

This year’s Big Cleanup network enables all South Africans to actively get involved and improve the health of our local marine resources.


Get involved! Join us on 16 September 2017

The WESSA Tourism Blue Flag project – a three-year coastal tourism and youth development project – along with the Let’s Do It! Africa waste awareness campaign will run or support a total of 22 registered coastal cleanup events. Find the one closest to you.

The Getaway team will be also be taking part, you can join us on Saturday 16 September at 10am and help clean up our oceans at Muizenberg, Sunrise Circle (meet at the parking lot on Access Road). 


First, download this awesome app

Download the Clean Swell app onto your phone before the cleanup and become a citizen scientist while you collect trash. This app will let you share your achievements, and also provide valuable data to the Ocean Conservancy‘s research database because it helps to record every item of trash you collect, track your total distance cleaned and helps to identify trash trends. Download it for Apple or Android.


Then find a Coastal Cleanup close to you

Use this map to see all the Coastal Cleanup locations and details.

Western Cape

False Bay Hope Spot has plenty of pools to explore sea life; Hope Spots are not only about the sea life but the entire coastal ecosystem. Images by Teagan Cunniffe


Eastern Cape

Cape Recife Lighthouse from the beach is part of the Algoa Bay Hope Spot. The Samrec Penguin Rescue Station is close by. Image by Teagan Cunniffe


Kwa-Zulu Natal

Stand-up paddlers heading out to the sea, with the profile of Durban city in the background. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


Find out more info on the International Coastal Cleanup from these network partner organisations: Two Oceans Aquarium; the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB); Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa; Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET); the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST); Boaz Ocean Awareness Yacht; the Coastal Cleanup Convention; Nature’s Valley Trust; and White Shark Ventures.

To learn more about the various coastal cleanup events steered and supported by the WESSA Tourism Blue Flag beach stewards, Let’s Do It! Africa campaign and other participating partners, visit or

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