With Jeffreys Bay being home to Supertubes, regarded as the worlds best wave, as well as the calamari industry being based in St Francis Bay, our heritage is the ocean.
October is Marine Month and it’s commemorated to create awareness of South Africa’s marine and coastal environments and the benefits that our oceans bring to our nation.
A healthy ocean generates more than half of the oxygen we breathe. It’s little surprise then, that our oceans, and the ecosystem that supports them, are so important to our, and the planet’s, future survival.
But it’s not just about the oceans. The marine environment is inherently connected to the rest of the water system.
We all depend on the flow of fresh, clean water from our beautiful fynbos mountains, through the rivers and estuaries and in to the sea for our own survival, providing fresh water on land, and keeping the ocean ecosystem healthy.
What you and your family can do to ensure the health of our oceans:
- Reduce your plastic consumption. The most frequently collected items during beach cleanups are made of plastic, think reusable shopping bags, water bottles and utensils.
- Make informed seafood choices. Keep a copy of the sustainable seafood guide with you which indicate which species are green, red or orange. Green meaning you can buy these species legally, orange is that species threatened and red meaning that these species are collapsed therefore the selling and or buying of such species is illegal.
- Dispose of chemicals properly. Never pour chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil or paint into the drain or toilets. Check with Kouga municipality’s household hazardous waste program to properly dispose of or recycle chemicals and keep them out of rivers and oceans.
- Choose green detergents and household cleaners or make your own! Besides being better for your own health, these products are safer for the environment since what goes down the drain can end up in our oceans.
- Find out the source of your food. Buying local, organic food reduces your carbon footprint, supports the local economy and reduces the amount of pesticides and fertilisers that end up not just in your stomach, but as run-off in rivers and oceans, too.
- Fill your yard with indigenous species. Reducing the amount of grass in your lawn by planting indigenous shrubs and flower beds will provide a better habitat for birds and other wildlife and require far less water and fertiliser, which can seep into the oceans.
- Keep your beach visit clean. When visiting the beach, stay off fragile sand dunes, take your trash with you and leave plants, birds and wildlife for everyone to enjoy.
Photo: Clive Wright