Even more important than collecting bottle tops for the pre-school children at Goedgedacht (as mentioned in last week’s column) is the need for people not to leave them behind on beaches, hikes and walks or toss them off a boat.
These caps, which are made of hard extra-slow degrading plastic, have been defined as among the top five most deadly ocean trash items. Marine mammals, birds and fish see plastic bottle caps as food, which can lead to ingestion and potentially fatal consequences.
Over the past 30 years more than 20 million bottle caps and lids have been found during beach clean-ups around the world, though how many were washed up is unknown.
However, last year for the first time, more than 100 000 caps were individually analysed in a campaign by the North Sea Foundation to address the pollution problem at its source. The caps, predominantly white and blue, were collected by 2 000 volunteers along the entire Dutch North Sea coast.
Among the conclusions were that: Consumers left behind 80% of the plastic bottle caps on the beach, 80% of which were from drinks and food packaging. The number of caps per kilometre ranged from 20 to 128.
More than 70% were damaged, varying from light to severe, indicating the caps had been floating at sea for a long time.
Among the foundation’s recommendations were that governments should introduce deposits for disposable plastic (single-use) drink packages including the caps. Secondly, industry must make these products reusable.
And while they’re about it, soft drink manufacturers should consider changing the straws for all these polluting bottles. Used for just 20 minutes, a discarded plastic straw can apparently last in the environment for hundreds of years. Straws suck.
Pick a stick
The new adult game of “picking up sticks” in the Tokai Forest is gathering momentum but more volunteers are badly needed to gather and stack the wood lying around. All those cyclists, runners, walkers and strollers who use the forest will benefit – they protect the trees from fire, and in exchange get free mulch from the deal when MTO eventually chip the wood.
Parkscape’s Nicky Schmidt tells me that people have commented on how much neater parts of the forest now look and the trip hazard is decreasing.
“That said, there is still a load of work to do. We’ve only got through one compartment and have started on the second, but we still have the two worst – the middle compartments – to tackle. More hands on deck (or in forest) would be great.
“A pleasant surprise was the arrival of loads of folk who had seen the advertisement to collect wood. All told us how in the days of SAFCOL they were allowed to gather wood (which is why we all remember the forest floor being so clean) but since SANParks took over management of the area, they’ve not been allowed. Many have come along with bakkies and trailers to cart off huge piles of woody debris – and for us, every little bit helps in getting rid of the fuel load.”
“Pick up sticks” is played every Sunday but the times have been shortened from 10am to 1pm, as nobody pitched in the afternoon. You can, of course, do a spot of gathering and stacking at any time during the week.
For instance Arthur Koeberg, a Khoisan elder from Westlake and a Parkscape member, brought some children to the forest on Tuesday to help and were supplied with a slap up picnic. Great fun was had by all and they did a sterling job and had a lovely afternoon out. Pictures are on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ParkscapeSA/
007 goes stripey
If it’s true that Daniel Craig was offered an astonishing $150 million by Sony to star in two more James Bond films, one wonders what modest sum he accepted from director Steven Soderbergh for appearing as convicted safe cracker Joe Bang, in Logan Lucky, the American heist comedy film. In his black and white striped prison suit, rather than one from Bond Street, Craig is almost unrecognisable with neck tattoos, a platinum blond haircut and snarling responses to anyone who asks a civil question. And it’s a big question.
Is he prepared to help West Virginia brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan break into the vault of Charlotte Motor Speedway to siphon off all their cash?
He’s interested but there’s a snag. He’s soon to be released from prison and doesn’t want a setback. The brothers must break him out and get him inside again before anyone notices his absence.
The mumbling Southern accents and the fast-paced action mean you miss bits here and there, but Craig in his prison outfit steals the show. Move over 007.
Saudi women on the move
I feel sorry for the first Saudi woman driver who writes off her husband’s car. Not only will she never live it down but neither, I suspect, will he.
Imagine the ragging he’s going to receive from his colleagues at the refinery about letting his wife drive.
While it’s extraordinary that in this age there is a country where women have been forbidden from driving, there is an upside.
Saudi mothers, unlike those in Cape Town, have not had to spend half the day in their cars carting their kids to school, sport, extra lessons and do all the shopping.
In politics sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side.