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Wanted! The Dirty Dozen

Around 50 Pandas, friends and family gathered at Granger Bay in Cape Town on the last Saturday of June to take part in a cleanup for a #PlasticFreeMzansi to kick off Plastic Free July.

The target was the “Dirty Dozen” – the most common items found littering our beaches. This was part of a collaboration between WWF and SASSI, the Beach Co-op and Twyg to launch a month-long #PlasticFreeMzansi campaign asking people to give up three of the Dirty Dozen items, namely earbuds, plastic bottles and chip packets.

© The Beach Co-op
The plan was to document exactly how many of Dirty Dozen would turn up.

And the results were astounding.
During the course of the morning, the group picked up 74.5kg of waste in 10 full bags. The most common of the Dirty Dozen turned out to be straws (1339), cooldrink lids (1237) and individual sweet wrappers (961).

© WWF South Africa/Kirtanya Lutchminarayan
More than a thousand straws were collected during the cleanup

Further down the list, but still in unacceptable numbers, were lollipop sticks (646), and earbuds (628). (Tip: many pharmacies and stores stock paper-based earbuds which are a better alternative.)
Other items like chip packets (174), cigarette lighters (63), water bottles (59), cooldrink bottles (48), carrier bags (24), fishing line(19) and lightsticks (6) also featured.

© WWF South Africa/Kirtanya Lutchminarayan
This entangled fishing line is harmful to marine life.

It was interesting to see how many of these common items so often associated with pleasure and leisure find their way into the sea.
So, here’s our challenge to you for July and beyond: Give up plastic earbuds, water bottles and chip packets for a #PlasticFreeMzansi.

© WWF South Africa/Kirtanya Lutchminarayan
After all the hard work was done, the cleanup crew posed for a picture
Kirtanya Lutchminarayan Photo
Kirtanya Lutchminarayan, WWF-SASSI Project Officer

Marine conservationist, biophile, fascinated by the fibonacci.

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