GONUBIE Harriers began a clean-up of the Eastward Ho section of the beach in Gonubie on Saturday morning despite murky weather conditions.
The clean-up is one of several being organised ahead of the upcoming Coastal Challenge hosted by the Gonubie Running Club.
“We are trying to look after the environment so that runners can have a clean route and don’t see all the filth that accumulates on this beach,” Gonubie Harriers treasurer and cleanup organiser, Dru Behrens said.
This is the second year that Harriers will be hosting the popular 10km or 21km race with a green route along the coast. They will be distributing reusable plastic cups at watering points, instead of plastic sachets which end up all over the sea, that can negatively affect sea life.
“Plastic is a major problem on this beach. “Today we have been picking up 95% plastic rubbish, which is so harmful to sea animals,” Behrens said.
The main beach in Gonubie lost its Blue Flag status a few years ago and was the last beach in Buffalo City to have that status. Blue Flag beaches have been internationally certified as environmentally safe and clean.
The status is awarded based on water quality, safety, environmental education and information, services and environmental management.
The prestigious but hard-earned Blue Flag status is a powerful drawcard for tourists around the world.
Gonubie gained the status in 2004 but lost it in 2007 due to poor water quality.
It regained the status again in 2009, only to lose it again months later because BCM officials failed to submit water samples within the allocated time.
Member of Gonubie Harriers Siv Hesjedal said: “I like the fact that our club cleans and runs and incorporates a bit of community work into an event [Coastal Challenge]. I visit this beach often since I live in Burnett Street, so it makes sense to help. If we clean here, perhaps more people can benefit from this beach”.
Community member Zizo Piti, who recently began running with the Harriers, said she decided to join the clean-up because she would not be able to assist on race day. “It’s nice when you run and there isn’t dirt all over the place. People need to be responsible and pick up their rubbish. “This clean-up needs to be an ongoing event to keep our coast clean. I find it therapeutic to get involved today.”
There will be another clean up at 8am on Saturday. Call 072-238-5600 for info.