Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic end up in our oceans. It’s a global problem that can only get better given the spotlight the issue has had lately. Due to campaigns such as “Sky Ocean Rescue” it has become impossible to ignore.
I have grown up not far from the coast myself in Northumberland, North East England and seeing litter while visiting the beach was not unusual. As my awareness of ocean plastic and other environmental issues has grown, this is the first holiday abroad where I have truly seen the scale of the problem.
During my week in Fuerteventura every time I visited the beach I picked up various bits of litter out of the sand, rocks and path. The thing I picked up most regularly was plastic lollipop sticks. If these got into the ocean they could very easily hurt wildlife. While I did not see a lot of plastic physically in the sea it was embedded in the rocks. I did pull a plastic knife out of the water, thankfully it had been pinned under rocks so it wasn’t able to make it’s way deeper into the ocean.
Many of the resorts in the area offer all-inclusive options which from what I saw clearly increased how much single use plastic is left in the area. There was a mix of cheap plastic and thicker cups as well as hundreds of straws littered across the coast. In my time there I rarely saw a drink without a straw. I didn’t see a single paper one served either. In total I filled 3 bags in half an hour at the time I took the photos above and below. One of which I found on the beach and I used it to remove the litter around where I found it:
Sadly it wasn’t just plastic either. While paper does decompose quicker I did see a lot of paper cups. Cigarette butts were an awful site all over the island which are full of plastic fibres and are not bio-degradable. Depending on circumstances they can take up to 10 years to decompose although this is debated. Some say even longer than 10 years. Aluminium drink cans were a massive problem and are estimated to take up to 500 years to decompose.
I struggle to understand how anyone can find it acceptable to throw cans in rocks like it doesn’t exist. There was a bin less than 50 feet away from where I found this mess. The cans I found thrown in the rocks on the coastline which I pulled out myself:
It takes very little time to clean up an area that has been neglected. This before and after picture took me less than 5 minutes. Again using a bag I found lying on the ground:
We can all make a difference in helping clean up our oceans. If you see something discarded, pick it up. It’s our choice to leave it in the environment or remove it. This doesn’t just have to be our oceans and coastlines. Our countrysides and roads are victim to human negligence.
Follow One Change Now on Instagram, tag your images and use the hashtag, #onebagcleaner. Together we can limit and begin to erase the damage that has been done to our beautiful environment already.
We today and every day can make One Change Now.
Leave your comments and photos about what you have done to clean up the environment around you.