Young leaders clean up shoreline

The junior town council of Walvis Bay embarked on a major clean-up campaign recently.

02 June 2019 | Local News

Caroline Jansen; Junior Mayor; One plastic bag or wrapper can ruin the lives of many ocean creatures . . .

Walvis Bay - Karl Philander

The junior town council (JTC) of Walvis Bay cleaned up the shoreline area at Independence Beach in the vicinity of Kuisebmond recently.

Caroline Jansen, the junior mayor, highlighted that discarded plastic bags, cigarette butts and other forms of plastic waste which end up in the ocean pose dangers to wildlife and fisheries.

“We want to send a message to the community that keeping the ocean clean is very important. Allowing litter to enter the ocean, which is both a source of food and a source of income for many families along the coast, is extremely detrimental for our future. We need to take care of what is keeping the town of Walvis Bay running and not pollute the environment.”



The group started with the clean-up exercise at the newly constructed oil tanker jetty and worked their way towards Walvis Bay. Along the way a junior councillor had to wade into the ocean to collect and remove floating plastic containers.

Jansen expressed her concerned about the condition of the ocean.

“Oceans are the end point for much of the pollution we produce on land, however far from the coasts we may be.”

She added that many people do not realise the importance of maintaining clean seashores.

“Aquatic life can be threatened through entanglement, suffocation, and ingestion. One plastic bag or wrapper can ruin the lives of many ocean creatures. Fish get tangled up in the bags and mistake the plastic for food, with devastating effects.”

Unlike other trash, single-use grocery bags, water bottles, drinking straws, and yogurt containers among eight million metric tons of the plastic items tossed away instead of being recycled, won’t biodegrade. They can persist in the environment for a millennium, polluting beaches, entangling marine life, and getting ingested by fish and seabirds.

The ocean covers three-quarters of the earth. While some rubbish is dumped directly into the seas, an estimated 80 percent of marine litter makes its way there gradually from land-based sources.

“Keeping the ocean clean should be a priority to all, especially for the residents along the coast. The fate of our seas is not only up to the government or industry. Our individual, daily actions matter, too. Start by reducing water pollution and runoff at home, by being more mindful of plastic consumption, or join clean-up campaigns,”Jansen said.

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