Humewood Beach: South Africa’s oldest Blue Flag Beach and the pride and joy of the Nelson Mandela Bay communities. On 29 May 2017, this pristine stretch of the shoreline got a makeover of note. Shamwari Game Reserve put together a team specifically to conduct one of the most successful beach clean-ups on the coast.
Staff, management and students all jumped right in and got to work, clearing up thousands of pieces of rubbish left as litter or washed up by the tide. The outstanding initiative marked the 25th anniversary of the Shamwari Conservation Experience. Going beyond the actual clean-up operation, the team wanted to raise awareness and trigger the community’s emotional response at how fragile the ecosystem really is.
The attitude of ‘prevention is better than cure‘ holds true for the damage that can be caused by littering. Especially being a coastal environment, the team brought attention to the fact that microplastics are quickly disintegrating into the oceans, poisoning fish and other marine life. The clean-up certainly got the right kind of attention and inspired youth to become more active in playing a role to protect the beach.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to be cognisant of recycling, reusing and upcycling in our everyday lives and to conserve a vanishing way of life. When confronted with litter on the beach, which has been washed up on shore it reiterates the urgency of the situation.” – J. Cloete (GM).
Emphasising that this was not a stand-alone event, the team hopes that the general public will also get behind the initiative and even expand it to other beaches along Port Elizabeth’s coastline. The Blue Flag Beach status helps maintain a strong flow of tourists throughout the year, and conserving the coastline can only benefit all involved.