Chokka boats must make an effort to keep beaches clean

plastic-wasteWith thousands of visitors about to ‘invade’ St Francis the importance of presenting a beautiful, well-kept holiday mecca goes without saying. Certainly we do have a few problems with eroding beaches, potholes, although the municipality along with St Francis Property Owners association are doing a great job in addressing some if not all of these matters which bodes well going forward.

Obviously the beaches are one of the reasons so many choose St Francis as their summer holiday destination and simply have to make every effort to present them clean sandy beaches St Francis is so renowned for.

But alas the chokka fleets are not playing their part and the owners and skippers of these boast simply have to make every effort to encourage their crews to respect the ocean from which they derive their living by not throwing their waste overboard but rather storing aboard and disposing of their waste, particularly any plastic product.

A letter from reader Fiona Malherbe pleading for chokka boats and others to keep our beaches clean.

“Last week, in Cape St Francis, I looked out of our window, one clear night to see the twinkling lights of three fishing boats anchored out, just past the beach break.

The following morning, my husband and I walked along the normally pristine beach to find it littered with debris which had been dumped off the picturesque fishing boats. We collected a huge sack full consisting of plastic wrappings, plastic rope, bottles and tops.

The boats remained off our coast for a few days and every day we could see exactly what each boat had consumed the night before, mostly all wrapped in some sort of plastic. Sadly, we also came across a dead gannet, the plastic rope could be seen clearly down the gullet which had obviously caused its death

These fishermen derive their income from the sea and ironically are killing the source of their income by the endless plastic that is scattered along our beach.

I remember a few years ago, an effort was made to educate both the skippers and their crews about the dangers that plastic causes when fish and birds ingest this plastic debris and I believe it is time for the owners of these fishing boats to once again bring in stricter measures and to be responsible in protecting our marine life and our beaches.

Maybe they need to pick up the litter along our beaches themselves and have a look at the penguin rehab to see the injured birds that their plastic has caused. Or maybe they just need to be taught to put their rubbish into bags which should be recycled and taken back to the mainland.

We have been blessed with a truly beautiful coastline and a sea that teams with all sorts of marine life, let us protect it now for the future, it brings so much joy to so many people.”.

A suggestion by another Cape St Francis resident is that chokka and other fishing vessels should be made to pay a ‘pollution deposit’ that is refunded part or all when they return to port. Some formula would need to be worked out but the refund could be paid to crew members as a bonus for helping to save our oceans. Possibly there are others out there that have ideas so if you do, please add you comment bel ow.

But it is not only the chokka boats!

One needs only read any of the many websites on ocean pollution to realise how serious the presence of plastic derivatives in all its many forms from ropes to plastic bags to those little “natural” water bottles that so many simply discard when empty. Apparently even certain cosmetic products contain micro-plastics are now being found to be contributing to this flood of plastic threatening a major food source, fish.

That this deluge of plastic is killing off marine life is a reality and everyone must play their part by making sure no plastic finds its way to the ocean.

The importance of recycling has often been the subject of articles in St Francis Today and it really is time that the municipality joins in the effort by creating a recycling facility either by themselves or better still, funding a project that some environmentally conscience entrepreneur can start up and thereby create jobs for some of the many unemployed in all the towns, villages and townships within the Kouga municipality.

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