"This Project is Rubbish!" Project Update

Macro and micro debris study of the sediment surface using a selective sampling technique.

Sampling the sediment surface for both macro and micro debris has continued on a weekly basis for both sampling sites. Thirty sampling sessions have been completed in total for both study sites. The analysis process for the collected debris has been completed for these thirty sampling sessions as well. Recently an increase in the counts of sampled debris items has been observed. This might be as a result of winter weather conditions (high winds and large swells). This will be confirmed when the correlation between weather/sea conditions and debris loads are calculated. The river mouth near the sampling sites has opened recently and this could give another reason for the increase in counts of debris items collected during sampling.

Looking forward, data entry into the excel data base for the project needs to be completed and we are concentrating on getting all the data from the datasheets entered as soon as possible. This will allow statistics to start being done on the data we have collected. Sampling continues as usual on a weekly basis for both sampling sites.

Micro debris study of the sediment using bulk sampling (cores)

We have got together the micro debris sample analysis equipment. Therefore we are now able to start with the micro debris study. We are currently conducting the sample analysis and processing steps for the core samples collected earlier in the year. The process involves density separation, sieving, filtering and visual examination. The aim here is to quantify the abundance and distribution of micro debris within the sediment and seeing if there is variation between seasons in terms of abundance and distribution.

At the moment the sample analysis and processing of the core samples for site one has been completed. Next week the processing and analysis of the core samples from site two will be finished. Also next week the second group of core samples will be taken from both sites one and two (nine from site one and nine from site two).

Community awareness/education:

Every two weeks the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) goes to each of the fishing line bins (which were put up just over a month ago) and cleans them and makes sure they are in working condition. So far all the bins have been cleaned twice. Just from the first month the situation is looking promising. Many of the bins have line in them with some being half to totally full. The amount of line in the bins has increased from the first time we checked them as well. This shows that the local community is interested and willing to be part of the line bin project and this is very encouraging.

In the future it is hoped that more people make use of the line bins. The aim looking forward is to put up more of these line bins and increase the area covered with the line bins. Stanford Conservation Trust has requested that line bins be put up in their area. This is great news as a larger area can be covered with the line bins. This shows that the line bin initiative is spreading to other areas.

SASC will continue to clean the bins every two weeks and as mentioned earlier, we hope to put up more bins soon.