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The Gap Year Blog

Sun, Sea, and Scraps...

12 Nov 2019 11:30 AM

This week we have been doing a lot of work on the beach. The weather has been glorious – sun shining all morning and well into the afternoon, which makes it perfect weather for excavating Turtle nests, building bamboo cages to protect the nests, and also beach cleaning. At first glance, Carate Beach appears to be a fairly clean beach, but once you stop to really search, there are many tiny little pieces of micro plastic strewn across the sand.

On Wednesday morning, a large group of us set of armed with bin bags to clean the beach. There were a surprising number of single shoes washed up on shore - perhaps taken by the sea previously -only to be returned to the sand they came from. What was simply astonishing was the sheer quantity of plastic we found. Carate beach is about 2.6km long, so we only managed to do half of it on Wednesday morning, spending around 2 hours walking slowly to pick up all of the rubbish.

On Saturday we headed out again to finish the job. Friday was a full moon, and so it was also the highest tide of the month. This tends to be when most of the rubbish gets washed up on the beach. The amount of micro plastics was astounding. All along the beach there were tide lines of pure plastic debris. The majority of it was tiny pieces, but there were a quite few plastic spoons, toothbrushes, and plastic bottles.

If you don’t already, get yourself a reusable water bottle and a bamboo toothbrush. You might not think that it makes much of a difference, but every little helps. If Carate is just one beach in one country, just imagine how much plastic there is on all the beaches of the world, and how much still is left floating in the sea. We can distinguish plastic from food and sea matter, but fish, turtles and other marine animals cannot. Plastic is the biggest destroyer of marine life after fishing, and it’s time we really did something about it.

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By a Frontier Costa Rica volunteer

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!