This Plastic Free July, the Two Oceans Aquarium is getting even more serious about putting a stop to plastic pollution in the sea. An exciting lineup has been planned for the whole month, and the Aquarium will use its extended platforms to further mobilise individuals, communities, retailers, restaurants, businesses, and other stakeholders to commit to stemming the tide of plastic that is choking the oceans.
The Aquarium is doing a massive ecobrick drive this July in aid of Waste-ED’s “Building a Future” programme. Waste-ED needs 1,000 ecobricks to build an outdoor learning space for Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill. By bringing in an ecobrick, Aquarium visitors will be entered into a lucky draw for an incredible R18 500 prize, which includes Aquarium membership and experiences, a high-end Sealand Gear upcycled bag, tickets to top Cape Town attractions, vouchers, and much more.
This year’s theme for the International Plastic Free July campaign is Beat Plastic Pollution. The Aquarium challenges everyone to refuse the top four single-use plastics – plastic shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers (plastic coffee cup lids, cutlery, etc.) and plastic water bottles. Participants are encouraged to make the pledge on the website, or share it with Aquarium on its social media platforms.
“We live in a time where throwing things away has become all too common-place. The problem is that no one has been able to tell me where this ‘away’ is, and that’s because everything we throw ‘away’ stays on this amazing planet of ours. We all need to use less single-use plastic and rather reuse what we have, over and over. This makes reusable shopping bags so ideal. Consumers using them can proudly say that they are not contributing to landfill and litter in the environment, including the oceans,” said Hayley McLellan, Environmental Campaigner for the Two Oceans Aquarium.
For those who want to go single-use plastic free, but are not sure where to start, Aquarium partners Faithful to Nature (https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/) will host a unique pop-up shopping experience in the Aquarium on 7 and 8 July. The shop will feature plastic-alternatives and plastic-free products for sale to all Aquarium visitors.
Every day during the month of July, the Aquarium will host a special, interactive presentation on plastics in the ocean. The talk, which forms part of the Aquarium’s “Creature Feature” mobile exhibit, will take place daily at 4pm at the I&J Ocean Exhibit.
Plastic Free July at the Aquarium will end on a high note with a special speakers’ evening called Home to Ocean (H2O) on 31 July. Speakers have been invited from various sectors – beach cleanups, recycling, upcycling – and will share their expertise and passion on stage at the I&J Ocean Exhibit. The event will take the form of individual presentations followed by a panel discussion and will cover sectors like education, community, corporate, sports, and more. Complete event details and tickets are available through Quicket.
International Plastic Bag Free Day is on 3 July. To mark this event, the V&A Waterfront will be running a week-long activation in their centre court. Shoppers are encouraged to bring 10 single use plastic shopping bags and get a reusable bag in return. “The Two Oceans Aquarium, which has been running its Rethink the Bag environmental campaign for more than seven years, applauds this active effort by the V&A Waterfront and we’ll be there to support it in force,” said McLellan.