Seeing the success of the Towards Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa project in rolling out the monitoring programme in the Western Indian Ocean countries encouraged the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) to request that the SST team also train its personnel. Should the DFFE use these protocols, this training will allow South Africa to fall in line with the other countries in that DFFE as well as SST will be collecting data in the same way as the six other countries. This training is the first step in harmonising techniques for litter surveys in South Africa and DFFE may, in the future, want to take it further and use these protocols in the Western Cape and KZN.
SST researchers Toshka Barnardo and Tanna van Niekerk presented the Litter Monitoring Training Workshop for the DFFE in Cape Town from 13-16 April 2021.
The goal of the workshop was to train the twelve delegates, many of whom hold a bachelor’s degree, in litter monitoring techniques along beaches and on land, following the guidelines laid out in the African Marine Litter Monitoring Manual, published by SST in 2020.
The four-day workshop included presentations explaining the protocols outlined in the manual as well as practicals where the techniques were applied in the field.
Two clean-ups were conducted as part of the training – one beach and one land clean-up. A total of 2,518 items were collected, of which 40% was cigarette butts and other smoking-related plastics.
The workshop delegates also received a guided tour of the Kraaifontein Materials Recovery Facility which was led by John Kieser from PlasticsSA.
SST hopes to maintain a close relationship with DFFE and support them in their Source to Seas project, which aims to clean litter hotspots in coastal provinces.