National Marine Week 2019

Lauren Moriarty
7 October 2019

Every year on the second week of October, South Africa celebrates National Marine Week. This week is aimed at highlighting the importance of the marine environment; creating awareness about the role our oceans play in our daily lives; and promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the environment and its resources.

Marine week helps to show the vital importance that our oceans have on our livelihoods and how they are being threatened by the way we live. It also highlights the world’s fisheries and their importance to ecosystems and our livelihoods.


Figure 1. The importance of our oceans and the resources it provides.

It is important to appreciate our oceans and their uniqueness as a global heritage, that should be protected as a natural resource and preserved for future generations. While this week aims to create awareness about issues facing our seas, it also creates a sense of pride for the unique environment. This is where the country gets involved in helping to make a change to protect this vulnerable environment.

Although, much is known about the effects of pollution and how this has escalated over the years, our knowledge about our oceans is still very limited. Plastic pollution is one of the most problematic issues that faces our oceans, with about 8 million litter items entering the ocean EVERY day! Approximately, 90% of this marine litter is made of plastic that enters the oceans from both land- and sea-based sources. That is why it is so imperative to take action against plastic pollution and help to save our seas and protect its living inhabitants.

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Figure 2. Reasons to protect our oceans (left) | Figure 3. How to remove single-use plastics from your daily life (right)

Continued research around the country hopes to gain further insight into the understanding of the marine environment and all it encompasses. Understanding the ocean and its processes also helps us to monitor climate and weather events. This further helps to increase awareness around these events, as well as decrease damage through protective and preventative measures.


Figure 4. S.A. Agulhas 2, Polar research vessel (left). | Figure 5. Research equipment to determine marine conditions (right).

The objective of marine and coastal awareness is to:

  1. Help those of influence such as teachers; decision makers; etc. to improve upon the knowledge that reaches the public and impact the solutions that are then further promoted.
  2. Provide practical and simple actions that you can take to help the marine and coastal environments.
  3. Demand for change in industry and public behavior to reduce litter and the reliance on single use plastics.
  4. Improved waste management.


Some ways in which you can get involved, not only in National Marine Week but also #marinemonth in October are:

  • Beach clean ups – these are often held across the coast every other weekend and requires an average of 1 hour of your day to help make a difference;
  • to give up at least one single-use plastic;
  • the SAIAB exhibit at Nelson Mandela University Ocean Sciences Campus 8th – 11th October;
  • SAAMBR exhibit at uShaka Marine World on marine litter 5th – 13th October;
  • STOMP awards in South Africa by the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLIP).

Figure 6. Things you can do to help our oceans and our planet for a greener and cleaner future.

Let's all stand together to make a difference this marine week. Let us know what have you done to play your part in keeping our beaches clean; our oceans free from litter; and our living creature free from harm?

#NationalMarineWeek2019 #NMW2019 #nationalmarineweek #marinelitter


Image web links

Figure 1 | Figure 2 | Figure 3 | Figure 4 | Figure 5Figure 6 

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