We think it’s a privilege to be able to visit remote locations, but our Islands and Cays are no longer pristine and untouched—mega tonnes of rubbish, mainly plastics are drifting around the world’s oceans, and our far north is littered with junk,
Plastics are a very serious problem. They don’t breakdown and return to nature: big bits just become small bits; eventually, minute pieces, which have now found their way into every single living animal in the world—including us! Islands of plastic are found in the oceans; it’s a difficult challenge for humanity.
But on the bright side, good work is being done by many people and organisations, and their example is contagious. It all started for me when I teamed up with my partner Sylvie. She would wander the shores picking up junk and dragging old nets about, continually mumbling about saving turtles, and whales, and how lazy some people are. Thinking she might be talking about me I offered to help; then it became serious! Upon reaching something hard enough to set her feet on, she (the general) would summon her troops (me) and off we would go armed with bags, knives to cut thru ropes and maybe a big bin for buoys. We carefully bagged up the plastic bottles, rubber shoes, general bric-a-brac and then piled them into a heap with the heavy stuff on top. I am breaking into a sweat just thinking about it.
If it were a designated park we would try to bring it back to the mainland, or if we had no room on board we would advise the appropriate Gov. authority where it could be picked up from on their next trip to that location. If the area were not a park my preference was to burn it by digging a big hole below the tidal mark, and being very careful.
Plastics greatly enhance our civilisation, are low in cost, use little energy to produce and are totally recyclable. Unfortunately, we humans have failed to see the big picture, or perhaps it’s the powers to be that are either too dumb or too short-sighted to work things out properly. A simple tax (often refundable) on all plastic items would cover the cost of recycling and go along way to fixing the plastic problem.
In reality, we can’t do very much about government policies, weather, acidification of our oceans, overfishing and the many bad environmental practices we see happening all around our planet. However,we can be meticulous with our own rubbish, make an effort to clean up what we find, definitely aiming to leave a place in a better condition than we found it.
Despite the doom and gloom, it feels dam good to treat our own backyard with lots of TLC.
Further information on cleaning up our marine environment can be had by clicking on the following links: