Whether you are in Fiji, Brazil, Australia, Seychelles, Costa Rica, every time you go to a non tourist beach you will encounter with a sad truth, marine debris from all over the world is taking over the beaches.
The Ocean Conservancy organizes an annual Beach Cleanup Day; in 2010 they celebrated the 25th anniversary of this campaign and they had 615,407 volunteers cleaning the beaches all over the world. They collected more than 8 million pounds of trash and other debris—enough to cover about 170 football fields.
According to the United Nation Environmental Program (UNEP) marine debris is any manufactured or processed solid waste material (typically inert) that enters the marine environment from any source.
Mahahual, a small village in the Coast of the Mexican Caribbean is not the exception to this. Marine currents from all over the world bring a lot of marine debris to these beautiful beaches. In Mexico we have worked in the area for over 6 years participating with weekly beach cleans where it has been observed that between 60 and 70% of the debris is plastic.
To continue getting hands on the problem, a massive beach cleanup was organized by Sustenta (Mexican organization that promotes sustainable development and green technologies) and other organizations. This beach clean is done on the International beach cleanup day organized by the Ocean Conservancy; however this year was done on a different date. GVI Mexico has been working closely with Sustenta for three years in raising funds for a campaign to reduce the amount of plastic bottles. The goal was to buy water filters and give them out to families in Mahahual, that way they would get drinkable water reducing the amount of bottles they had to buy.
In two years more than 2500usd were raised to buy the filters and they were given out to the families that collected the most plastic in the beach clean and during a campaign that Sustenta launched to collect plastic bottles from town.
On February 25th 350 participants, including members of the community and all the organizations involved collected a total of 1547.5kg of plastic bottles. They also removed 4888kg of marine debris from the beaches in the area. This happened astonishingly in only a couple of hours.
Marine debris also comes from the land, therefore campaigns like this one where the goal is to reduce the amount of plastic used are really important.