“Even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone, everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.” Says world-renowned oceanographer, diver, author and lecturer Dr Sylvia Earle from Mission Blue.
Do you know what Blue Flag Beaches and Hope Spots are? How many Blue Flag Beaches we have South Africa? And in the Garden Route? How many Hope Spots we have in the Garden Route? If you know this you will know why it would be good to support Beach Cleanup-Day in some way on Saturday, 16 September.
Blue Flag beaches and Hope Spots are awesome and important tourist attractions. A Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches that meet excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to win Blue Flag accreditation for its beaches.
Fifty-eight Blue Flags will be proudly flown at coastal sites around South Africa over the forthcoming 2016/17 South African Blue Flag season. We have 13 Blue Flag Beaches in the Garden Route region, with 4 in Plett! Here they are … Breede River Mouth: Witsand. Mossel Bay area: De Bakke, Hartenbos & Santos. Stillbaai: Preekstoel & Lappiesbaai. George area: Wilderness & Witsand. Knysna: Brenton-on-Sea & Buffalo Bay. Plettenberg Bay: Keursboomstrand, Lookout, Natures Valley and Robberg 5 Beach.
“Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection. About 12% of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than 4% of the ocean is protected in any way.” Says Dr Sylvia Earle who visited South Africa in 2014 and launched six Hope Spots which included Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.
Lunchbox Theatre wholeheartedly support the fact that “never before has the health of the oceans been more fragile, and more essential to our wellbeing”. This is why they stage The Whale Show https://lunchbox.org.za/the-whale-show/ and the What a Waste Show.
This year will be the 20th year that South Africans participate in the annual International Coastal Clean-Up. More than 700 000 volunteers in 127 countries around the world offer two hours of their time on the third Saturday in September to remove litter from beaches and the marine environment. So take your family to your favourite beach this Saturday, join a formal group, turn cleaning up into a fun activity or simply support these two important shows by making a small monthly donation and you are ‘off the hook’. Visit www.lunchbox.org.za now or on 16 September and do your bit for the ocean.