On 11 May, a joint beach clean-up initiative at the Helderberg Marine Protected Area (MPA) was kicked off, with support from Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM).
The Helderberg MPA is situated between the mouths of the Lourens River in the Strand, and the Eerste River in Macassar. The shore of the Helderberg MPA comprises of 4 km of sandy beach as well as some low-lying sandstone reefs in the MPA extending 500 meters out to sea.
Members of Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club, Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement and Somerset West Bird Club were in attendance supported by a team from Rheinmetall Denel Munition.
Rheinmetall Denel Munition made resources available to participate in the clean-up and assisted with the waste removal which was separated into recyclables and non-recyclables, therefore cutting back on the amount of waste going to landfill. A large portion of the MPA is within Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s restricted area in terms of the National Key Point Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Rheinmetall appointed contractors to assist with the clean-up initiative, in particular along its fence line.
“It was a good arrangement being able to leave our full bags (one tyre, heavy fish rope nets and hard plastics) behind to be taken away by them,” stated Sonja Peacey from the Sunrise Rotary Club. “We would like to encourage members of the public to not bring polystyrene items to the beach with them as it so light weight and gets blown away very easily.”
After numerous planning meetings between Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s Executive Manager Operational Risk Management Lyndon Metcalf, Peacey and Lisa Starr from the Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement, the joint clean-up initiative was established.
“This is the start of a long term partnership and we look forward to supporting future initiatives to the benefit of the MPA. Cleaning the beach also improves the coastal and ocean ecosystem by making sure that none of the trash kills marine life or is toxic enough to disrupt the marine life cycle,” stated Metcalf.