A group of ocean lovers, together with the Seachange project and The Beach Co-op, have been engaging with the City of Cape Town and residents around cleaning protocols for the tidal pools dotted along the metro’s coast.
“While the pools were originally created to provide safe bathing areas for residents and visitors – some were built as far back as 1930 – they have also evolved into rich sanctuaries for a range of marine life. The main goal of the engagements has been to find a cleaning solution that will satisfy the safety and accessibility needs of recreational users while ensuring the marine life in the pools is undisturbed and protected,” said Aaniyah Omardien of The Beach Co-op.
Public spaces are vital for nurturing democracy – they provide a place in which people from all sectors of society can commune on an equal footing, with the common goal of relaxing and revelling in nature, she said.
“In a country still acclimatising to democracy, it is important that these safe, free spaces are preserved and embraced,” she said.
Cape Town’s tidal pools offer not only this human engagement, but a unique opportunity to interact with the sea and its rich biodiversity in a safe environment. Many schoolchildren have benefited from visiting the pools – particularly St James – on educational outings.
“Once they slip on a pair of goggles and a snorkel, they are often amazed at the creatures that live beneath the surface,” Ms Omardien said.
“We need to look after these spaces and assist the City of Cape Town in doing so. The residents of Cape Town are extremely fortunate to have access to beautiful pools that are free and open to everyone. We need to become custodians of these spaces to ensure they continue to play a role in our relationships with nature, the ocean and one another.”
How can you help?
Part of the solution has been to source a high-pressure hose to assist in the removal of slippery algae that grows on the tops of the whitewashed walls.
“The City has not budgeted for a high-pressure hose, but as community-minded citizens, we have decided to take responsibility for raising the required funds. It’s a win-win situation: those using the pools will continue to enjoy a safe bathing experience while the creatures and plants that live in them can continue to grow and thrive,” she said.
The hose identified costs R28 000. If 560 people donate just R50 (the equivalent of two cappuccinos) the group will be able to buy one – and the tidal pools will continue to be rich and rewarding places that provide a special and educational interface between humankind and nature.
For a full summary of the cleaning history, read the Cleaning Protocol page https://www.capetowntidalpools.com/cleaning-protocol
If you would like to contribute, visit the BackaBuddy campaign here https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/tidal-pool
Additionally, any stories or images of the pools from pre-1980 are being sought. Please send these to the contact information on the following website: capetowntidalpools.com