WE recently visited the Eastern Cape shoreline between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay after a friend told me about rare numbers of black oyster catchers.
At 5pm one afternoon we walked for more than 1km in both directions along the beach from the Van Stadens River mouth. Every square metre of sand along the tidal zone and above it was covered in plastic.
Most of it was South African plastic waste (like long life milk boxes and chip packets) as well as plenty of cabbages, onions and tomatoes, but there were some Korean and Chinese containers too. A fishy smelling crate with the name Hermenus was found.
We gathered some fishing twine, rope and plastic string, but when we came to collect it the next morning it was all gone. Staff at the Van Stadens Resort say it can be washed back out to sea, but mostly the shifting sand buries all of it.
The waste is apparently always like this on the sand when there are chokka boats in the bay.
Consumers want to know what fishing companies are polluting our seas like this. The plastic straps, ropes and twine found are known to kill dolphins and other creatures.
How can we find out what companies are doing this? We saw four chokka boats in the bay between PE and Jeffreys Bay on the night of October 8 and assume one of them was the Hermenus.
We were told that the garbage is collected by volunteers once a year (last year almost 20 tons of it along the beach from Maitlands to the Gamtoos Mouth), but that would just be what is on the surface. For the most part, it gets buried in the sand, waiting for a chance to wash out to sea again or slowly breaking down, adding many PVCs and other toxins to our shoreline.
The residents of Blue Horizon Bay recycle, yet every time there are chokka boats at sea, their shoreline is buried in plastic. Then we are told that calamari is a "green" seafood choice to make!
Marina Beal, Richmond, Karoo