Call of the sea echoes with pollution

MANY would agree that the ocean evoke a range of emotions – from awe and appreciation to fear and trepidation … are the source of invigorating sports to life-sustaining pursuits and combined with the sun, drives the engine of our planetary weather and climate patterns.

In 1926, Poet John Masefield penned a defining contribution to the compelling role played by the ocean in the lives of many in Sea Fever:

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking”.

These sentiments could be expressed by many an ex-coastal inhabitant unfortunate enough to be located far inland and starved of the sea’s vast treasures.

Of course a more contemporary view of the magnificent attractions of our ocean is applicable…the sunrise and sunset at Nahoon Beach in East London (and numerous other coastal locations), early walks along the shoreline, surfing and wave boarding, climbing sand dunes and paddling beyond the wave line. But the allure extends …

The Sunshine Coast, East Coast Resorts and the unsurpassed Transkei Wild Coast possess beauty unparalleled globally. The fascinating towns and villages along this coastal Eden do justice to the stunning vistas and provide a charm that complements the abundance of natural beauty. Fishing is excellent in places and the full range of water sports is practised. We are blessed in this particularly appealing part of our exceptionally beautiful country.

But the call of the sea is a very different one in these times … it is a heartrending cry for help which does not fall on enough receptive ears.

The ravages of massive and ongoing pollution, depletion of sea life and particularly dangerous volumes of plastic in the sea and along shorelines, paint a frightening picture of oceans in their “death throes”.

Scientists tell us that we live in a critical “tipping point” stage and that the next few years are crucial for the survival of our oceans…and marine and human life.

Encouraging positive steps are taken by a small but growing group of ecologically aware beach enthusiasts at Nahoon Beach – with an almost missionary zeal they collect all manner of flotsam and jetsam in the early mornings before the enthusiasts enjoy the fruits of the beach. They deserve respect and gratitude.

The need for effective, ongoing and aggressive education in things ecological is critical.

Government, the corporate world, industry, shipping lines, fishermen and the general public need to take drastic steps. Pollutants of all kinds and plastic, in particular, need stringent controls and vigorous efforts to eliminate them from our oceans.

The very real threat of “Cry the Beloved Country” transforming into “Cry the Beloved Sea” could be upon us. We must all play our part. – RM Hewett


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