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Media Release - 31 August 2004
Clean Beaches and a Cultural Exchange
Saturday 28 August saw a unique combination of cross-cultural exchange and environmental awareness played out in the coastal zone of the Addo Elephant National Park.
Twenty-one learners from Moses Mabida Senior Secondary School – one of the local communities bordering the park – and twenty-one learners from five different schools in Uitenhage engaged in a beach cleanup organised by the Addo Elephant National Park and the Uitenhage South Rotary Club.
The youths began the day by finding out more about each other’s likes and aspirations before heading enthusiastically onto the coastline stretching east from the Sundays River mouth.
The Uitenhage youths – from Brandwag, Mary Mount, Sisonke and Strelitzia High Schools and Riebeeck College belong to Interact Clubs supported by the Uitenhage South Rotary Club. Transport was sponsored by Brandwag High School.
While ridding the beach of rubbish, the learners had a chance to learn about shore and marine life. The beach is littered with the debris from ships at sea and fishing tackle discarded by shore fishermen. The youths discovered the damage that such unwanted litter can cause on this stretch of coastline boasting the southern hemisphere’s largest coastal dune field.
At the end of the day, over ninety bags full of rubbish had been collected by the youths and park rangers.
“This was an eye-opening experience, “said Mignon Stokes of Strelitzia High School. “I used to think ‘what harm will one piece of litter do?’ but now I know that if we all thought this way, what a lot of litter there would be in this beautiful place.” The coastline cleaned by the youths forms part of the newly expanded Addo Elephant National Park. The Alexandria dunefield, stretching from the Sundays River mouth to the Bushmans River mouth covers 14 000 hectares of the 145 000-hectare National Park.
The coastline and adjacent coastal forest is home to many bird and animal species, including the endemic hairy-footed gerbil. Plans to proclaim a Marine Protected Area in Algoa Bay are in the beginning stages and it is hoped that this area will cover some 120 000 hectares of the sea.
Youths from Uitenhage and Moses Mabida schools collect rubbish from the beach (Note: more photos are available on request)
Issued by: South African National Parks
Enquiries: Megan Bradfield
Addo Elephant National Park
Tel: (042) 233-0556