In one of a recent highly successful cleaning campaign, a team of dedicated activists has been able to clear about 45 Kilograms (100 lbs) of trash from Playa Langosta – one of the most famous beaches in Cancun known for its long white-sand. The beach also has shallow waters, a playground, restaurants & public restrooms among other amenities.
The public beach is notorious for being littered; solid wastes and styrofoam that floats on the sea are the two main culprits of contamination both in the beaches and in the sea.
In a quick campaign conducted this Saturday July 10th in the early morning hours from 7-9, a group of 20 industrious activists took it upon themselves to clear 45 kilograms of trash in an area of 14,000 square meters. The area involved cleaning 20m into the sea over 190m of pristine coastline.
The group that goes by the name of Snorkeling for Trash Association is working to clear up the beaches in Mexico. Gustavo Rodríguez Lozano, director of the association stated that the trash that has formed across the Playa and seven other beaches were a result of mere 30 days of unchecked sanitation. Their team has already collected more than 500 kilograms of seaside trash consisting mainly of plastics, glass and styrofoam.
“The advantage of cleaning in the sea is that fish trapped in plastic bags have occasionally been detected, octopuses trapped in aluminum cans, and when cleaning has been done in the mangrove swamp of the Nichupté lagoon, birds have also been rescued” – says Lozano reflecting on previous campaigns.
The group has been particularly prolific in their attempts to rid beaches of dirty trash. The association claims that during 3 years of their service, 13 to 15 tons of waste have been collected, mainly plastic, as well as bottles (main sources being hotels and boat parties).
The group cites promoting environmental education as their main goal and pledged to carry out these kinds of activities at least once per month.
Pollution is a growing problem in Cancun beaches. It was reported that as much as eight hundred tonnes of sargassum seaweed was collected from Cancun’s beaches in June, and over four thousand tonnes in 2022 so far. Cancun is the home to the cleanest beaches in Mexico due to low levels of microparticles and all of its beaches declared to be fit for swimming following tests of samples of water earlier this year.
One of the groups that contributes its sizable shares in the growing problem is the tourists who knowingly or absent mindedly leave their plastic trash on the shores. The problem got worse with the pandemic which meant a lot of used masks were washed ashore and found on the seabed. The officials are making pleas with the tourists to be mindful of their littering habits and take care of their trash.
Cancun has set a good standard for other beach cities and towns in the country but the city is in a constant battle to improve it or even maintain the status quo. The authorities recently blocked a hotel construction project because of environmental concerns. There are also several efforts made to restore coral reefs.
Cancun has the highest rated beaches in Mexico but it requires a lot of effort to maintain them clean. As a tourist, please be mindful of your littering habits especially when you are consuming plastics or when in the seashores. This includes developing habits to not use single use plastics–such as straws while sipping your smoothies or using multiple use grocery bags etc.
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