At a recent Travel Massive Event hosted by the Two Oceans Aquarium where they served a water-wise menu using only biodegradable products, we were treated to some insight into the work that they do there in educating, conserving, rescuing and rehabilitating all things ocean orientated. Here are some of the facts Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive, provided on how the Two Oceans Aquarium is going green in support of the Blue Planet.
Over the past 12 months approximately 75 000 children received formal and dedicated marine science lessons at the Two Oceans Aquarium in their two experiential discovery centers. More than 35 000 children, mainly from disadvantaged areas, were reached through their two community outreach programmes. The outreach programmes are specifically aimed at disadvantaged schools and schools in the townships, informal settlements and in more rural areas, which cannot come to the Aquarium due to financial constraints. They visit these schools at no charge to them whatsoever.
Russell Stevens, Head of our Education department, was invited to present this groundbreaking curriculum at the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Conference in Venice at the end of last year. The Two Oceans Aquarium was one of only two aquariums represented. Further credit to the team is that in a publication by UNESCO, they reference the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Education Centre in the section on showcasing successful stories.
From a sustainability point of view, the Aquarium is one of only three properties in South Africa to hold the coveted Diamond status awarded by the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme, an ecolabel which recognises the efforts of businesses towards reducing their environmental footprint. This is the second consecutive year that we have achieved this status.
In Response to Waste Management
Between December 2016 and November 2017 they diverted 37 tons of waste from landfill, which is a 50% total waste reduction from the first to the last quarter of the reporting period. They added 14,457 liters of rainwater storage capacity to the building, thanks to a donation of rain tanks from Eco Tanks. Reduced carbon emissions by 10 tons – from 2,780 tons to 2,770 tons and added 194,250kWh of solar energy to our energy consumption mix.
In Response to the water crisis
With Cape Town facing the worst drought in history, the Two Oceans Aquarium replaced or retrofitted all taps with aerators that reduce the amount of water that flows to just 0.6 liters a minute – down from a full 6 liters a minute for the average tap. Traditional screw taps have all been replaced with push-taps that are equipped with stoppers that keep them open for under three seconds – encouraging short hand washes. They also nwo provide hand sanitiser for those who choose a waterless hand wash.
They have monitored their water useage through five smart-meters which were developed and donated to the Aquarium by the University of Stellenbosch and also through an online monitoring system. Converted their dive training swimming pool to sea water from freshwater and driven an ongoing awareness campaign via social media, which was very successful.
Rethink the Plastic Bag
We have a dedicated environmental campaigner, Hayley McLellan, whose sole purpose in life is to create a plastic shopping bag free South Africa. Hayley has tirelessly driven this campaign for the Aquarium since 2011 and the fruits of her efforts are now coming to the fore – on 5 April SPAR Eastern Cape, the region’s biggest food retailer, announced it has officially begun the process of phasing out all single-use plastic shopping bags in its stores. This is huge – with 243 stores being visited by over 125 million customer visits a year, SPAR Eastern Cape has truly changed the responsible retail landscape in South Africa.
On Sight Animal Rescue
Since the Aquarium opened its doors in 1995, members of the public have reported sightings of animals, mainly seals, entangled in the debris of various kinds in the V&A Waterfront harbour area. Over the past decade, they have responded to this need by actively monitoring and freeing entangled countless seals in the V&A harbour. The last 12 months saw 71 seal rescues/disentanglements and over a 1000 hours of monitoring and patrolling.
The Story of Bob the Turtle
Watch this video to learn about Bob the Turtle and the danger of single-use plastic. Refuse the straw, take your own reusable water bottle and shopping bag and recycle as much as you can. It’s easier to make difference than you may think.
The Essential Details
Do visit the Two Oceans Aquarium on Dock Road and the V&A Waterfront and should you wish for additional insight into the work that they do, arrange a behind the scenes tour. Call +27 (0)21 814 4539 for more information, or see www.aquarium.co.za to subscribe to their informative blog. They run regular beach cleans ups, talks and events that you can join so subscribe to their mailing list to stay in the know.
Yacht Boaz Collaboration
Consider taking a cruise onboard Yacht Boaz that docks right next to the Aquarium and sails every Sunday. Forming a partnership with them, Yacht Boaz in collaboration with the Sustainable Seas Trust is on a mission to create awareness surrounding the overwhelming epidemic of plastic pollution, one nautical mile at a time. More info can be seen at: https://www.yachtboaz.co.za/