It was hot! I took a break from the computer to head off to the beach for a swim. I got to my usual spot. On Grand Bahama Island we have so many wonderful choices for beaches. Walking down to the sand, I was shocked to see what I did. This usual pristine beach was littered with garbage, mostly plastic garbage. I thought back to a recent article I read and posted on this site called, Plastic Ocean. I walked along and was amazed at the amount of plastic I saw in a short distance of only 100 yards.
I realized that what I saw that day was abnormal. Most days it is not like this. The sea often regurgitates what it contains depending on the currents. The night previous must have been a good spewing forth from her. She must be tired of all this human dumping.
I came across a very large piece of plastic, bright green, and like a beacon it called to me. I thought I could use it as a vessel for refuse, so I pulled it up out of the sand and began collecting all that I could see. Plastic bottles of every type, lids, bike seats, boat seat pieces, bags of all sorts, and I was surprised to see many of those metallic balloons we fill with helium for parties or events. There was also much styrofoam along the shore.
In a matter of only 10 minutes I'd collected enough to overfill a bathtub. At one point I walked past a mother and daughter enjoying the day. They asked me what I was doing (I thought it quite obvious). I told them how shocked I was to see so much plastic and I told them about the article, Plastic Ocean (please read this), and how that it is estimated that there is as much plastic in our oceans equal to the same size of Texas (790 miles long and 660 miles wide). Startling! And what is scary is that we keep generating more and more plastic. AND only 3 - 5 % of plastic gets recycled. The article also states that each of us tosses out about 85 pounds of plastic a year!
Think about those sea creatures that must contend with our senselessness. I include this photo from the article to make that point. This poor creature obviously got stuck within a plastic ring as a young sea turtle, and grew up deformed from it.
The only solution is to be responsible. We must educate ourselves, then educate our children, and then lead by example.
This past week we celebrated Independence. Many families, friends, church groups hit the beaches to celebrate and show their national pride. Did they all take their refuse home with them? Some yes, most not. Read a related Freeport News article.
Humans like wide, open, "clean" spaces. If you take a child and offer them a house to play in they will most often select the room that is spacious and uncluttered. I've tested this with my own four children many times and use it to teach them "why" it is good to tidy up after oneself. They would trash their play room and then head into the next room, and then the next, etc.
So when we go to the beach, I am pretty sure we usually pick the area that seems the "nicest". We would likely not choose an area littered (used) with trash. It is human nature. So why, oh why, do we feel it is okay to dump our garbage wherever and whenever we are done with it?
A friend sent me the YouTube video here, of one of the youngest persons(Severn Suzuki) to speak to the United Nations. She visited the UN with other children in 1992, and her message must be heard. It is inspirational and relevant, now more so than ever!
The Bahamas is a coastal country. Water is important to us as it provides food, tourism activities, and income, so therefore we must depend upon it. But are we willing to take care of it? It only takes one person to make a difference. Could it be you?
Children learn what they live, so let's be good teachers!
"Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding."--
About the author:
has been a resident of Grand
Bahama since 1998.
She moved to Freeport from Vancouver, Canada.
She is the mother of four children and is an involved volunteer in the community, in particular with the YMCA.
She is a founding
member of the Grand Bahama Writer's Circle, and The Bahamas representative for the International Women's Writer's Guild. Her passion for life on Grand Bahama comes across in her innovative and intuitive sharing and networking of information within the community she lives.
She is appreciative of her opportunity to live in The Bahamas and looks forward to the continuance of being a team player within the larger community of The Bahamas.
Robbin is the Editor of TheBahamasWeekly.com and can be reached at