Keep the oceans clean. Another compelling PSA from AfriOceans !

I have learnt that when you do good, good follows. It is a law of the Universe. So it was with Kelsey Egan, a lovely young, motivated and talented film producer and director who, having been inspired by the work we are doing at AfriOceans, approached me about a public service announcement (PSA) she wanted to make for us.  Upon hearing the details of her creative concept, which I loved, and assisting in defining its message, I knew that ‘Keep the oceans clean’ was going to go a long way in helping us raise awareness about marine pollution, and plastic pollution in particular, a problem which has always concerned me. A very big thank you to Kelsey for helping us make a difference!

‘Keep the oceans clean’ links in with our high profile AfriOceans Warriors Environmental Education Programme that proactively addresses marine pollution (I will be sharing much more about this exciting programme in a few weeks time.) Send the link to your friends, leave comments, say how you feel about marine pollution – I would love to hear from you!

This is not our first PSA, AfriOceans is recognized for our thought provoking awareness campaigns. In 2005, with the help of Saatchi & Saatchi, we launched the compelling ‘Rethink the shark’ PSA campaign. It reached millions of people worldwide and continues to assist in putting shark attacks into perspective while highlighting that innate objects, such as faulty toasters and flying kites, are far more dangerous than sharks. Subsequently it won many awards and was soon followed by our ‘Rethink the predator’ campaign.

Keep the oceans cleanStudies done locally have shown about 3 500 particles of plastic per square kilometer of sea off the southern African coast. In addition, surveys of 50 South African beaches from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town showed that over a five year period plastic pollution had increased by 190%, and that more than 90% of the articles found on these beaches contained plastic. Plastic is now found on virtually all South African beaches, even the most remote. The shores and oceans of the rest of the world are equally littered with plastic pollution, a deadly killer of millions of marine animals every year.

The time is now to turn the tide on plastic marine pollution and we aim to assist in doing so. We believe the solution to this global problem begins on land with you and me, the consumer: the less plastic we use, the more we recycle that which we do use, the less will land up in the oceans. Eventually the plastic, which is already at sea, will land on a beach, along with all the plastic already there, and if we keep doing beach cleanups and make them ‘a way of life’, slowly but surely we will make a big dent in another of the huge problems we have inflicted upon our precious Gaia. Education and awareness is the beginning of this cycle of healing and that is what our new PSA, and our supporting environmental education programmes, which involve many beach cleanups, aim to do.

Are you doing your bit to fight the war against plastic, I do hope so? Find out more about marine pollution and how you can make a difference and visit the AfriOceans website here.

On this note I bid you a farewell for a couple of weeks while I head off on a photographic expedition on the other side of the planet, in clear warm water and with some of my best friends of the oceans, tiger sharks of the Bahamas. I look forward to sharing my adventure with you on my return. In the meanwhile, to help raise funds for AfriOceans, a reminder that I’m running a Sardine Run Photograpic Expedition from 13th-19th June from beautiful Mboyti on the Wild Coast – join me for the adventure of a lifetime!

Watch my space!

  1. TerryTerry02-25-2011

    Once again an awe inspiring blog. Keep our Oceans Clean will be become a powerful campaign and rallying point for all those who care, young and old.Travel safely and enjoy every moment of your shark expedition.Looking forward to seeing the images of the sharks responses to your new wetsuits.
    From the AfriOceans T

  2. SimonSimon03-01-2011

    Great work again from you and your team Lesley! We have many things to fight and plastic waste is a definite problem and so much else. If we dont do something however it will just get worse. We need to stop the amount of packaging we use, somehow we need to lobby against this.Awareness is a big part of the process so thanks for what you are doing.

  3. KimKim03-02-2011

    I attended a meeting hosted by PETCO last week at which I learnt that the packaging industry in South Africa is worth R35 billion and over 50 000 jobs. Why would the packaging industry voluntarily reduce the amount of packaging it produces and risk reduced profits and returns to shareholders as well as possible job shedding? So far they have largely fobbed off calls for a responsible approach to resource utilization and package pollution by calling on consumers to recycle. Recycling should be the last positive step, not the focus of resource efficiency and pollution control. Perhaps it is up to us consumers to force change. I say we start by leaving excess packaging on the counters where we pay for the contents. And either don’t buy goods that come in packaging that can’t be recycled or composted – or return the packaging to the retailer. To find out what plastics are recyclable, go to:

  4. Lesley RochatLesley Rochat03-02-2011

    Thanks for sharing this with us Kim, and I agree with you, it comes back to us the consumer – we cannot expect them to do anything for once again money rules and throw in 'job creation' and the coffin is sealed. I like the idea both Kim and Malcolm have presented here, put pressure on the stores, lobby against them and their exorbitant use packaging, plastic in particular, which they make our problem. Though it would be great not to buy things which come in plastic packaging it is not possible nor practical when I consider some of those items. But yes, return the packaging, or better still I prefer the suggestion to take our goods out of the packaging at the tills and leave the packaging right there before we leave – this way we make a much greater statement and others in the store will see it, and perhaps we can start something that begins to snowball… We must do something, it is in our power to see change happen, in fact all the power is ours if we only choose to work together. I therefore pledge as of today, and to begin with, every time I buy something that comes in plastic packaging, to remove the item from the packaging and leave it at the till with a message to the store manager of why I am doing so. Who is going to join me? Let's get this rolling!

  5. TerryTerry03-02-2011

    Kim, I am with you and Lesley on this. Packaging is a big part of the problem but where's the biodegradable plastic that's been developed. That or no plastic. Finished discussion. Keep the Oceans Clean!

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