Revellers who cannot be bothered to clean up after themselves has prompted the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to ban the practice of “overnighting” at Long Beach.
Long Beach covers an area of about 15 km between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. It is situated in the Dorob National Park, and visitors are in fact not allowed to stay in the park overnight without a permit.
Spending the “big days” over the festive season at Long Beach has however become an institution amongst holidaymakers. On New Year’s Eve especially the area is a hive of activity as young and old converge on the beach to see in the New Year, partying until sunrise.
This year, as has happened every year before, revellers left the beach in an appalling state, with rubbish strewn everywhere.
The littering by coastal visitors and residents who camp at the beach to celebrate Christmas and New Year has proven to be a headache for the ministry and nature lovers for more than eight years now.
Speaking to Nampa about the matter, park warden Tashiya Joseph Tashiya, who was picking up the rubbish left behind along with other employees from his ministry, said enough is enough.
He said despite the rule that people are not allowed to camp there overnight, the ministry made an exception for the festive season. They will now however start enforcing the rule strictly.
“People have not been cleaning up after they were allowed to overnight here due to their kind requests. Every year the beach and dunes are left dirty and it becomes our problem. Next year, everyone will be out of this area by 21:00,” he said. A team of more than ten officials from the ministry, Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project (Nacoma) and student volunteers started cleaning up on Friday, New Year’s Day.
Such is the magnitude of the mess that the team expects to finish picking up all the broken bottles, cans, broken camping and plastic chairs, amongst others, by today only.
“Another issue is that some people are rude. When you humbly request them to pick up the garbage, they refuse. We cannot even ask them to volunteer to clean up. All they do is litter in the area and go,” he said.
Some holidaymakers also violated the rules of the park by driving quad bikes and 4x4 vehicles, and camping in the restricted areas in the dunes.
Also speaking to Nampa over the weekend, Kleopas Kantika from Nacoma said a great deal of garbage was left behind this year.
He said it is difficult to control people who are busy partying, and to tell them their rubbish should be disposed of in the skips or garbage bags placed in the area.
“We have been distributing garbage bags since Christmas but it did not help much as only a few people cleaned up after themselves. The rest did not bother,” Kantika said. By Sunday, only a few people were spotted relaxing on the beach as many had left for their respective homes elsewhere in Namibia while officials remain behind to clean up the mess. – Nampa