News

Seasonal beach macrolitter monitoring begins

Over the July to August period, the SST research team will be conducting their seasonal beach surveys at Gqeberha’s Pollok and Coega beaches. Macrolitter will be collected for 11 days in a row, after which it will be sorted and processed in our Macro Lab.

These surveys form part of ongoing research we started in 2019 and allow SST to gather valuable information about litter in Nelson Mandela Bay. This information can be used to determine the sources of litter, their possible migration patterns, and help identify areas in which remedial action is required.

Please note that we will be placing signposts at the beginning and end of the two surveyed beaches, and we urge our stakeholders to refrain from any beach cleanup activities in the demarcated areas during this period that could influence the outcome of SST’s results.

Although there are various methods to study beach macrolitter, those utilised by SST have been uniquely developed (and tested) to identify trends in beach litter specific to Africa.

During a beach macrolitter survey, all man-made macrolitter (>25 mm) is collected from a stretch of beach spanning from the edge of the water to the back of the beach. Once collected, the litter is cleaned, counted and weighed, and then sorted into one of 146 extensive categories. This is followed by 10 days in which the same stretch of beach is cleared daily to assess the kind of litter deposited over 24-hour periods.

According to the United Nations, the population growth and development of Africa over the next three decades is likely to double the amount of waste entering the environment. This amplifies the need for accurate data regarding unmanaged plastic litter on the continent.

Through such data we muster hope, as it can supply valuable clues to expedite countermeasures against the scourge of waste, and plastic waste in particular.

For more information about SST’s monitoring process, please visit our latest edition of the African Litter Monitoring Manual.

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