“This Project is Rubbish!" is a research project focused on marine debris. It is run by the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) and funded by Project Aware. "This Project is Rubbish" aims to assess the accumulation rates, composition and distribution of macro and micro plastics on two beaches (one being a blue flag beach and the other a non-blue flag beach) in the Overstrand region of the Western Cape of South Africa. The project also aims to develop awareness amongst the general public regarding marine debris.
This is the second blog for “This Project is Rubbish”. Since the first blog was posted we have moved forward with “This Project is Rubbish”. After the initial beach cleans for both sampling sites were completed and the sampling equipment had been received official sampling commenced. So far five sampling sessions have been completed. Three of these have taken place at the blue flag beach (cleaned daily but is used a lot by beach goers) and two at the non-blue flag beach (uncleaned beach which experiences much less beach goers in comparison to the blue flag beach). So far the most common debris by far has been plastic. The most common types of plastic found have been bottle caps, shopping bags and plastic packaging. Up till now more debris has been found on the non-blue flag beach compared to the blue flag beach. Added to this the type of debris found has differed so far between the two sites. Litter found on the blue flag beach seems to be more localised whereas litter on the non-blue flag beach seems to be coming from further away. This is just what seems to be happening so far but it is still very early on in the study.
Currently work is being done on writing up the project proposal which is due at the end of the month. We are also working on creating a database for the data that is collected. Next week we will conduct our first micro debris sampling session for both sites using cores. Micro debris sampling using cores will only be done at certain times (not weekly) and along certain transect lines. Our aim is to take core samples along two transect lines for both study sites. These samples will then be analysed to find out what micro debris is present, what debris is most common and if micro debris abundance changes through seasons. Sampling micro and macro debris on the sediment surface continues on a weekly basis as usual.