Ocean Conservation Plastic offenders ocean-plastic-pollution trash bash surf rubbish
Photo Cred: Supplied | On File

It’s been nearly two years since Jade took the initiative to start arranging beach clean-up efforts. Since then, she has hosted 20 events and forged good relationships with some volunteers and a recycling partner.


Western Cape, South Africa (28 June 2020) – Jade Bothma and a group of volunteers from the Sentinal Ocean Alliance and Sea the Bigger Picture undertook a beach pollution clean-up on Hout Bay beach on 13 June 2020.

Despite not being able to invite the public to participate due to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations, a group of 10 volunteers managed to collect a total of 29,63 kg of waste and from this plastic waste 10.63 kg was recycled, and six eco-bricks produced.

In partnership with False Bay Recycling, Jade tries to ensure that the majority of the waste they collect during clean-up is recycled and that the relevant non-recyclable plastic goes towards the making of eco-bricks, which is reusable plastic building blocks made of clean and dry used single-use plastics like lollipop sticks; straws or earbuds to create a useful building material.

Jade’s greatest motivation for starting this volunteer initiative and her conviction to remain consistent with these clean-up efforts comes from the fear that if everyone has the mindset that it is someone else’s responsibility to tackle plastic pollution, then nobody will. She believes that everyone has to do their part to make a difference before it is too late.

“There is a very large amount of plastic in the sea that comes from our rivers, stormwater drains and people littering on land. Therefore, most of the plastic we collected on Hout Bay beach came from the ocean and was washed up after a big rainstorm. The earth is our home, so we need to take care of it before it is too late. I urge all residents to try and reduce their reliance on single-use plastic and to try to pick up just two pieces of plastic every time they go outside,” said Jade.

According to Jane, it is very interesting to see how each beach has its own unique pollution problem.

“During our clean-up in Hout Bay, for example, we found many cool drink lids, lollipop sticks, and rope. As a result of people not being allowed on the beach during the lockdown and the current regulations around the sale of cigarettes, we only found four cigarette butts this time. This is insightful – cigarettes are generally a huge problem as most people don’t consider the impact their cigarette butts have on the environment when they toss them on the ground,” said Jade.

Jade asked the City for permission to do this beach clean-up.

“I have been encouraged to hear about the great work this young scholar has been doing in her fight against plastic pollution on our beaches. Here is a true example of a young resident who has decided to take action to save our beaches. Her efforts in creating a sustainable future for our natural environment are making a real difference, and hopefully, will inspire others to follow suit.

All it takes is for each one of us to start picking up a few litter items a day and prioritising our recycling efforts and to remain consistent with it. As Jade said, we cannot leave it for somebody else to do.

I ask that the public remain mindful about how their polluting habits on land are mirrored in the ocean. We thank Jade and the team of volunteers and partners for the great work they have done so far. Your passion, vision, and consistency are truly inspiring,” said Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment.

The team mostly found cooldrink lids, lollipop sticks, and sweet wrappers during this month’s beach clean-up. Other unusual items found on the day included medical masks, hand sanitiser bottles, sunglasses, a toothbrush, sunblock bottle and Lego.

Jade and the volunteer team have arranged and hosted clean-up events at various beaches across the City including Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Monwabisi, Camps Bay and Strandfontein.

Young Capetonian takes initiative to fight plastic pollution on beaches
Photo Cred: City of Cape Town

Sources: City of Cape Town
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