Beach cleanups in South Africa showcase the plastic we should all be avoiding!

Plastic offenders ocean-plastic-pollution trash bash surf rubbish

This is the top 12 offenders of plastic we should all be avoiding in 2019!


What a year! The last of the four Trash Bash Beach cleanups, hosted in collaboration with the “Two Oceans Aquarium” and “The Beach Co-op”, took place at Sunset Beach, Cape Town on 8 December 2018.

“All we took away was trash, all we left was lasting impressions – thank you to everyone that has been involved in their year of environmental action.”

One of the goals of Trash Bash is to collect scientific data about the 12 most prevalent plastic litter items found in the ocean, how they are distributed and the rate at which the debris collected on Sunset Beach. These items are dubbed “The Dirty Dozen”.

To study the accumulation of the Dirty Dozen, the same 1km stretch of beach was cleaned up four times throughout the year – these were the results:

2018 Trash Bash results, the top “Dirty Dozen” items:

  1. Sweet wrappers
  2. Lollipop sticks
  3. Earbuds
  4. Bottle lids
  5. Drinking straws
  6. Chip packets
  7. Shopping bags
  8. Fishing line
  9. Water bottles
  10. Cigarette lighters
  11. Cooldrink bottles
  12. Fishing lightsticks

There has been a global campaign to put an end to plastic straws but sweet wrappers, lollipop sticks and discarded earbuds were the biggest pollution items on this beach – entering the ocean as windblown litter or via wastewater. Interestingly, the team found that there was a proportional increase in items like chip packets, drinking straws and water bottles after the winter rains – a strong indication that much of the litter on this beach is washed into the ocean with stormwater runoff.

We also found uncountable amounts of microplastics and nurdles during these cleanups, and will be looking at ways to more effectively clean and quantify these types of pollution too.

Trash Bash 2019 – more to look forward to!

With your suggestions, 2019 is going to see bigger, better and even more incredible Trash Bash cleanup – the team will be saying goodbye to Sunset Beach and moving to new locations for the next year of cleanups and scientific study.

“We look forward to seeing you all again and being able to welcome new communities of Trash Bashers into our midst in the new year.”

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The Good Things Guy
Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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