International Coastal Cleanup Day – 18 September 2021

“Connect and Collect - Come Together for the 2021 International Coastal Cleanup”

International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD) is one of the world's largest annual preservation and protection events and volunteer efforts for the ocean, waves, and beaches. The cumulative result is not only a cleaner and healthier coastline but also a raised consciousness for accessible actions people can integrate into their lives to promote healthy beaches daily.

Some of the top five most collected items on ICCD in 2021 were cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws, respectively. All are forms of plastic debris. The very qualities that make plastic an adaptable and durable product to use, also make it an environmental nightmare. Plastics do not biodegrade. Instead, they break down with exposure to weather and the sun’s ultraviolet rays into smaller and smaller pieces. When these pieces infiltrate the environment, especially marine environments, they wreak havoc on wildlife and the ecosystem.

Plastics SA, who addresses plastic related issues, is the umbrella organisation that promotes recycling initiatives within the plastic sector, and which coordinates the South African volunteer-based International Coastal Cleanup initiative in partnership with the Oceans Conservancy, has reported that over one million pounds of marine litter are collected from South African beaches every year. Plastics SA plays an active role in the growth and development of the South African industry and addresses plastic related issues, influences role-players and makes plastics the material of choice.

Since South Africa has begun participating in the event more than two decades ago, there has been broad community involvement from schools and tertiary institutions, businesses, families, Service Clubs, Youth Clubs, Wildlife and Environment Clubs, National and Provincial Government Departments, media, Community Based Organisations, Non-Government Organisations, local municipalities and traditional authorities.

8 Steps to Safely Conduct a Solo or Small Cleanup

1.Pick a Location

Identify a safe location to clean where social distancing is easily achievable. Think ahead about where to dispose trash. Monitor health and the health of family members before considering a cleanup of any size.

2.Gather Materials

Gather materials needed. This includes proper Personal Protective Equipment (masks and gloves), hand sanitizer, grabbers, trash bags, closed-toed shoes and a reusable water bottle.

3.Download Clean Swell

Collect important data on the types and amount of trash removed. Download the Clean Swell application on your phone or other smart device. Be sure to “Allow” location services while using the app.

4.Clean Up

Safely collect trash using gloves and take pictures to document efforts. Never pick up any trash items that you are not comfortable with.

5.Carefully Remove Gloves

After finishing collecting items, remove gloves and wash hands and arms with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

6.Record Data

Follow steps on the Clean Swell app to review and submit data. Data is automatically submitted to the Ocean Conservancy’s database when the “Thank You!” screen appears.

7.Properly Dispose of Waste

Properly dispose of items collected. Do not place trash bags in overflowing bins. This may cause items to fly away and end up back in the water.


Immediately and thoroughly sanitize any gear used during the cleanup including grabbers, gloves, and buckets.

Take the initiative on this 2021 Coastal Cleanup Day to clean the ocean. Be a generation to be a part of solution creators not pollution creators. Make sure the end point of trash is a dustbin, not the ocean.

International Coastal Cleanup Day PosterInternational Coastal Cleanup Day Poster (2.71 MB)

Comments are closed.

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.