Beautiful Belize is not immune to plastic pollution and sadly plastic washes ashore even to this most pristine location. Guest and friend Maury Eldridge joined us at our Lighthouse Reef Basecamp on Half Moon Caye this March. We wanted to share Maury's words and his wonderful poem about his experience helping the war on plastic.
"...One mile of beach on an atoll fifty miles offshore. Nine hours of trash collection. A Belize Audubon Society sanctuary. A nesting beach for endangered turtles. The eastern half of Half Moon Caye. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. A marine reserve where daily the tides of human carelessness wash four to six plastic bottles ashore. Nongfu Spring bottled water from China, Wata from Jamaica, bottled water from Dubai, far flung sources of trash. Plastic knives, forks and spoons, syringes, pens, lighters and dolls. Burger King toys and shoes, sandals, flip flops, crocks. Floats and fishing line, buckets and barrels. Fragments too small to identify and pieces so sun baked they crumble at the touch. In crowning irony, plastic bottles with sea turtle logos of a conservation endorsement litter the endangered turtle nesting beach!
During nine hours of trash collection over five days I gathered the raw material for the Demon Queen of Plastic. For three weeks each time I walked to a snorkel site, I picked up the new day’s contributions to my dramatization of our thoughtless love affair with trash. She acquired a total of 117 shoes, sandals and crocks. At her demolition, she filled about a dozen 35 gallon trash bags. Here are a few pictures and words inspired by our Demon Queen..."
The Demon Queen of Plastic
Delights in our carelessness.
She is always hungry,
Our lust for convenience feeds her,
Matching her devouring need
We are supplicants to our lady
Of perpetual garbage,
Filling oceans of bottles, crocks, flip flops,
The broken head of a doll,
A lighter, a pen, a toothbrush,
A syringe injecting microplastics
Into our very bloodstream.
Of metric tons float in mighty gyres,
Degrade in sunlight to become
Plastic in our tap water,
Plastic in a mother’s milk.
The Demon Queen of Plastic
Delights in her reign.
Maury Eldridge - March 2019
How Does Plastic End Up In The Ocean
There are three main ways that plastic ends up in the oceans.
- From the landfill: Plastic that is not recycled ends up in the landfill. However, much of it is blown away when being transported and eventually, clutters around drains and enter the ocean this way.
- Littering: Rainwater and wind carries plastic waste into streams and rivers, through drains and finally into the ocean. Improper waste disposal is also a big contributor to plastic pollution in the ocean.
- Products that go down the drain: Many of the products we use daily are flushed down toilets, including wet wipes, cotton buds and sanitary products.
Island Expeditions Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Check at our previous blog post on what we are doing to eliminate plastic waste and using environmentally sustainable practices on our Belize trips.
Let’s all do our part to help end plastic pollution. Here are some great resources on simple ways to reduce our plastic footprint:
Planning a Trip to Belize?
Contact us today and let one of our Belize vacation specialists plan your trip. You can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.667.1630