Zoe Prinsloo during one of her recent clean-ups at the Milnerton Lagoon.
Picking up waste and getting their hands dirty is a no brainer for environmentalist group Save a Fishie as they soon embark on their most ambitious Coastal Beach Clean-up Campaign to date.
From May to July, Zoë Prinsloo, head of the group, and the team at Save a Fishie will finally see a project of clean-ups over 100 beaches along our South African coastline come alive.
Save a Fishie does regular beach clean-ups across the City, doing their bit to rid the ocean of waste.
On numerous occasions, TygerBurger reported on their successful clean-ups and even joined in on one at Lagoon Beach last year.
Prinsloo says through working with community schools and organisations, they aim to impart a shared ownership and awareness around the effects of plastic pollution on our ocean and personal health supported by various partners.
“In support of their environmental message, they will also be collecting citizen science based data around the quantity and variety of plastics they collect, which will be made available to the public on their website to download,” she says.
The first clean-up
The first clean-up will be at Big Bay on 20 May, a symbolic beach as this is where Prinsloo attended her very first clean-up at the age of 10. From there, they will continue with daily clean-ups all the way to Port Nolloth, before crossing the country and continuing down the East Coast.
The final clean-up is planned for 29 July at Milnerton Lagoon, another symbolic location as that is where Save a Fishie celebrated their 100th clean-up in September 2022.
They will be documenting their journey across various social media platforms with these key elements in mind: “Environment. Education. Entertainment.”
The group will also have a live tracking metre showing the public their kilometres travelled, kilograms of litter collected, number of nurdles picked up and more. On completion, they will share a YouTube series for an in-depth view of the project.
Despite this Coast to Coast being a dream of Prinsloo’s for some time, this project, like many others, cannot be a reality without the support of like-minded people and corporates and their commitments to our planet through their Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns.
Doing my bit
Even though Prinsloo has seen many clean-ups since she started, she also has an interest in straws which started over seven years ago.
“This started when I started doing regular beach clean-ups while working towards my Protea Award (the highest award in Guiding). I was shocked at how many straws I found on our beaches (among so many other unnecessary single-use plastic items).
“But when I saw that video of the turtle with a straw deeply embedded in his nose, that was literally the last straw for me. That video horrified me and from that day I vowed to never use another plastic straw again,” she says.
This led Prinsloo on a quest to find a cheap, biodegradable straw which is readily available to everyone.
“But it didn’t end there . . . I saw a need to try and replace all single-use items and I started slowly adding more and more products to my range and I am now proud to say that I am the youngest distributor of eco-friendly products in South Africa.
“I would like to encourage you to do your best to say no when offered single-use plastic items such as straws or coffee cups. Do your best to use eco-friendly items such as bamboo or metal straws, fire-lighters made from recycled coffee, stationery made from recycled paper or wood pulp, eco-friendly cotton buds, bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable and organic plasters and bags made from 100% recycled plastic bottles – all of which are available in my store.”
Nurdles, nurdles and more nurdles
“They just keep washing up on our shores.”
Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets, and they are causing devastating damage to our environment and marine life. They blend in with sand and shells.
“Can you believe the first reported appearance of nurdles on beaches dates back to 1970? Nurdles are a type of microplastic, the raw material – or pre-production building blocks – used to create virtually every plastic item. Nurdles are the basis of everything plastic. All the computers you have in your house, all that kitchenware, plastic bags.”
In October 2017 a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) container ship had a spill of 49 tons of nurdles during a severe storm.
These nurdles remain scattered across beaches all over South Africa even after nearly five years.
Help raise awareness
Help Save a Fishie raise awareness of ocean pollution and the effects of littering along our coastline, as well as inland by supporting their campaign.
Donations can be made to their BackaBuddy fund: Save-a-Fishie.
- Email Zoe on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved and know more and be sure to follow their journey on Facebook.
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