In 2018 an Australian concept went viral for all the right reasons… and now it is showing up in South Africa too with Gansbaai being first to test-out the stormwater net!
Gansbaai, Western Cape – A first of its kind in South Africa, through collaboration between Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, and the Overstand Municipality sees a net inspired by a viral Australian project has been tested in Gansbaai Harbour.
We first shared the viral Australian project in August 2018; you can read it here. At the time we compared it to a swimming pool filtration bag that sucks debris from the surface of the pool and collects it in a net. The internet loved the idea that a net would be able to stop pollution from entering the ocean and waterways. We asked readers their thoughts on if the concept would work in South Africa, and many agreed it would.
Now we get the chance to see for ourselves as a net has been installed at the Gansbaai Harbour. The first net was installed on World Oceans Day on the 8th of June. There was a massive rainstorm that day, so it was perfect for testing. Sadly the net had a design flaw. The team went back to the drawing board and installed the next test net on the 3rd of July, also known as Plastic Bag Free Day.
According to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s website, the first net design was sponsored by Marine Dynamics. Project leaders Hennie Otto (Marine Dynamics) and Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality.
Wilfred and Hennie then approached Ian Wessels of Wildegans Fishery who donated a sardine purse seine net and the stitching work required to place the net.
The nets are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by stormwater from the local road network, from flowing into the marine environment.
“We noted the pollution from the storm water drain in the Gansbaai harbour, whilst on a clean-up. The outlet leads straight to nearby rock pools and into the ocean. The kelp that traps some of the waste makes it difficult to clean and this too is ultimately washed out to sea. We have been doing cleans up for twenty years and 80% of the waste is plastic.
Dyer Island Conservation Trust is the first port of call for marine animal rescues and strandings in the Gansbaai area and we have witnessed first-hand the impact on our marine wildlife. We hope that through this project we can minimise this impact by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system. Unfortunately, most of the waste will probably not be suitable for recycling, but we will do this where possible. This is a worldwide problem and our dream is to roll this out in the Overstrand and in South Africa.” – Wilfred Chivell, Marine Dynamics
According to the Trust, Gansbaai has a total of 63 stormwater drains, meaning if stormwater nets are installed on each one, it will take continued collaboration between parties to keep them cleared after each passing storm. The test stormwater net will be monitored over the coming months, and the “catches” will be assessed by the team. This will help build a guideline for the project going forward.
“With 63 storm water outlets in Gansbaai alone, this project will be a long-term collaborative effort with the Overstrand Municipality, with an initial focus on the most problematic areas. There will be costs in manufacture and ongoing management. Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust are committed to this project and have made applications for grant funding. The Trust hopes to turn trash into treasure with art works and educational displays.” – Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Stay tuned, because we could see a stormwater net on every stormwater drain in the near future. A sight we cannot wait to behold!