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ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS: Wilderness Blue Flag Beach – Climate Change and our oceans

The international Blue Flag programme aims to connect the public with their surroundings and encourages them to learn more about their environment. 50 countries world-wide participate in this programme with 4831 beaches, marinas and tourism boats registered as blue flag sites.

Education activities must be offered and promoted in addition to a permanent display of information relevant to the site in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems and environmental phenomena. George Municipality printed and installed Coastal Care information boards at Wilderness Blue Flag Beach, Victoria Bay and Herold’s Bay. Educational activities would usually be aimed at the youth of George, however this festive season due to ongoing Covid-19 regulations group educational visits are not advisable. As such George Municipality is harnessing the power of social media to spread the word about the Blue Flag programme and will provide nuggets of environmental information over the next few weeks which can be read, and shared by all of our residents.

In September this year, George Municipal officials together with the Department of Environmental Affairs, EPWP workers and Pacaltsdorp Primary School used the International Coastal Cleanup theme day to clean in Covid-19 hotspots Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp. The municipal Environmental section chose to shift the focus from cleaning at the beaches, to cleaning the two communities in George that have been most affected by illegal dumping and the highest numbers of infections for Covid-19.  Flyers on the dangers of illegal dumping were handed out to residents living near the illegal dump sites to provide them with the necessary information they need to report illegal dumping as well as to educate them in the potential dangers to their health.

In October for National Marine Week 2021, SANparks visited a number of high schools in George and discussed the concept of ghost fishing with Grade 11 learners. Ghost fishing is the

term that describes what happens when derelict fishing gear ‘continues to fish’. Derelict fishing gear, sometimes referred to as “ghost gear,” is any discarded, lost, or abandoned, fishing gear in the marine environment. Ghost nets choke coral reefs, damage marine habitats and entangle fish, marine mammals and seabirds. They are also a danger to boats, catching in vessel propellers. Locating and then removing the nets is a major challenge.

Climate Change and the Oceans
According to studies from CSIR , the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that there is consensus that the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases will result in climate change which will cause the sea level to rise, increased frequency of extreme climatic events including intense storms, heavy rainfall events and droughts. Climate change is increasing the pressure on water bodies. From floods and droughts to ocean acidification and rising sea levels, the impacts of climate change on water is intensifying over the years.

According to Conservation International some of the impacts of Climate change on sea water is a rise in sea levels. Climate change affects ocean temperatures as well as wind patterns — taken together, these can alter oceanic currents.

The Western Cape Government Climate Change Advisory 2021 states that we need to both reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (through renewable energy, energy efficiency, ‘climate-smart’ agriculture, radical re-imagining of transport and planning to name a few) whilst also adapting to the, now unavoidable, changes and preparing for a continued increase in climate impacts.

Blue Flag Season 01-12 to 31-01
Free entrance for all public

Facilities and characteristics

  • Kiosk
  • Disabled friendly
  • Lifeguards on beach
  • The beach is sandy
  • The site is coastal

About the site

Wilderness Beach is one of those locations that truly lets one know that they are in Africa. Besides from the African Sun in the summertime, one can view the dense vegetation that grows right up to the beach, giving a complete wild coast feel to it. It is located between Mossel Bay and Knysna, which in themselves, are worth the trip.

This is one of those beaches that you can be enjoyed during the day and the evening. During the day one can absorb the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and the expanse of white sand, giving one all the room in the world to relax, or to run around like a wild person. A walk along this beach is a really calming experience, as well as a feast for the eyes. During the evening, one can witness some of the most spectacular sunsets, as well as a variety of sea creatures, such as the brightly coloured sea snails, that form into mass groups, and seem to enjoy their organized chaos.

Many fishermen flock to this shore, as there is apparently great fishing to be had in these parts. A variety of fish are on the menu in Wilderness, due to these fishermen, and their abundant catches.

There areplenty of accommodation venues to stay at, which are right on the beach, offering those fantastic views, from your very own balcony. This is a unique beach experience, and one that should not be missed by anyone traveling along the Garden Route.

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