Fri. Aug 23rd, 2019

SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]

South African endurance swimmer Sarah Ferguson recently talked about the devastating effects of plastic in the ocean, especially in SA. Here’s what she said:

sas sarah ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean photos 1024x683 - SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]

Breathe Conservation and its founder, Sarah Ferguson, did the sardine run near the eastern coast of South Africa last week when they saw the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean.

43285745 img 20190710 wa0021 - SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]
Linda Ness Pix /Supplied

Sarah told The South African that the intention was to do the sardine run when they happened to come across a line of plastic pollution.

“There was a bait ball of sardines and the gannets and cormorants were diving in and out to catch them,” said Sarah. “There were also sharks. It was devastating to see [the plastic]. There were also three dead birds floating in amongst the debris.”

Sarah Ferguson/Supplied

Sarah says there is literally a line of plastic pollution on the current line and when they jumped in, it was full of floating plastic pieces.

“It was like swimming in a soup of plastic, there were crabs crawling on us at times, sharks below and a bait ball of sardines sweeping in and out to escape the diving gannets.

“The gannets were eating plastic mistaking it for fish. Bottle caps, bits of rope, pool filters, plastic bags and bottle caps were amongst the things that we saw.”

c322decc img 20190710 wa0018 - SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]
Linda Ness Pix /Supplied

According to Sarah, Hole in the Wall in the eastern coast of Southern Africa is supposed to be one of the most pristine parts of South Africa, untouched by humans and yet there are plastic packets lining fences and 2-litre bottles lining the shoreline more than the eye can see.

Breathe Conservation’s goal is to eliminate throw-away plastic pollution.

“We aim to educate people (specifically the youth) to inspire and encourage them to live deeply and tread lightly – follow your passions and make the most of life, but to be aware of the consequences of your daily consumer choices.

“Refuse single-use products, use what you have rather than buy new, upcycle, support local, buy second-hand where possible. We need to try and encourage a circular economy.”

Sarah says the use of plastic in South Africa is very concerning:

“Although recycling has been around for a long time in South Africa, the vast majority of our single-use products cannot be recycled in our country and many cities have to send some recycling to Johannesburg to be recycled, this is not economically viable.

“We also do not have adequate waste removal systems in the rural communities to remove waste appropriately and so the river becomes a rubbish dump which ultimately flows into the ocean.”

She says South Africa needs to have a more efficient and reliable waste management and removal system to all communities:

“We need to produce products that can be recycled in each city and we need to stop producing toxic products like polystyrene. Education is key combined with policy and legislation changes at government and municipal level. Corporates and retailers need to provide safer and better alternatives, and consumers need to demand for alternative or minimal packaging.”

b0f147ca img 20190710 wa0022 - SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]
Linda Ness Pix /Supplied

Sarah is also an ambassador for SPAR Eastern Cape’s Stop Plastic campaign and has completed numerous swims in the fight against plastic pollution. In 2018, she completed a 100km swim from Mozambique to the Elephant Coast to fight plastic pollution.

“I use my swimming to try and inspire change one stroke at a time. I recently circumnavigate Easter Island in the South Pacific (63.5km) becoming the first person in the world to do so and so.

“I am still recovering from that. But I am looking at a few options of other swims, one of which may be the wild coast.”

1375b140 img 20190710 wa0020 - SA’s Sarah Ferguson talks about the devastating effects of plastic pollution in the ocean [photos]
Linda Ness Pix /Supplied

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *