EVERY BEACH HAS ITS OWN MARVEL. BEACHES TELL STORIES: SAGAS OF DESIRE AND THE FARAWAY, SAILOR’S STORIES OF FLOTSAM, SMUGGLERS AND PIRATE SHIPS. AND OF ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF WASTE!
We are facing a trash crisis. Not only in the seas.
For decades, nature has been wantonly treated like a garbage dump. Every year, between four and thirteen million tons of plastics wind up in the oceans, depending on the estimate. The vast majority of it is microplastics, which is plastic material that has already fragmented into smaller particles that at some point will end up either on the ocean floor or on beaches. Once the garbage is in the ocean, it’s there to stay. Plastics have a lifetime of up to 1,000 years!
In addition to a significant health hazard to people and animals, plastics cause serious economic damage to beach communities, tourism, seafaring and fishing. The cleaning of ports, coasts and beaches costs many millions of euros, year after year. The cleaning of beaches must be financed locally by the affected municipalities.
For years, attempts have been made to counteract the pollution of the oceans with garbage through the implementation of various national and international agreements and programs of action for the protection of the maritime environment. All over the world, beach communities and environmental organizations hold “Coastal Cleanup Days” on a regular basis, wherein a large number of volunteers manually clean beaches of refuse while creating awareness of the threat.
Links to interesting publications related to the topic:
WWF article "The sea is suffocating in plastics"
YouTube video "Plastik - der Fluch der Meere" (Plastics: The Bane of the Seas)