There's so much plastic pollution that it is slowly starting to affect the waters and the wildlife. The faster an action can be taken, the better it will be for us.
In a series of shocking images, a surfer can be seen paddling her way through trash-filled oceans as a bid to highlight the amount of plastic pollution there is in the oceans. Alison Teal, who is an adventurer and a TV personality is often known as the 'Female Indiana Jones'. In a few pictures that have surfaced online, she can be seen exploring the coastline of Tulum in Mexico with piles of waste suffocating the waters and obstructing her path. The situation is so bad, and to show a comparison, she shares contrasting images of the Galapagos, where local communities are maintaining the islands via clean-up efforts, reports Daily Mail.
In Galapagos, they hope to maintain the area as one of the 'last pristine places on Earth' and protect its unique wildlife. Alison is basically from Hawaii, and she visited the islands of Isabella and Santa Cruz, and then she was joined by the locals in San Cristobal for the communal beach cleanup. She really hopes what Galapagos will be a model for other countries to clean up their plastic pollution. It is an epidemic that the world is currently facing.
Revealing how the Galapagos has succeeded with its waste elimination efforts, Alison said, "The secret of keeping the Galapagos paradise is that the locals love their archipelago - protecting the Galapagos is in their hearts. The children learn in school not to throw plastic and they even teach the adults and visitors. Family is the basis for taking care of the conservation - they take pride in their island and the children learn how important it is to keep plastics and other pollution out of the environment."
"Getting to join in on both above and below water beach clean-ups I saw first hand the true dedication of the local communities in keeping their homeland clean. If we have a global shift in consciousness, our entire planet can operate this way as well. The only plastic and other trash that I was able to find and collect was in more populated harbor areas. Where you have people you have waste. However, the locals have a highly effective management system for compost, trash, and recycling," she continued.
"What does make it in the ocean is cleaned up often times by the children who excitedly clean up plastic like it's a treasure hunt. It's inspirational how the Galapagos compared to some of the other places in the world that I have visited where I could surf through oceans of rubbish," she added. She also mentioned how the locals take very good care of the rare wildlife that frequent the shore. Almost 80 percent of the land birds and 97 percent of the reptiles and land mammals are not found anywhere else in the world.
"Galapagos is taking admirable conservation action within the archipelago, however, climate change poses a very severe threat to many of the animals, some of which are highly endangered. For example, there are only about 600 couples of Galapagos penguins left as prey species decline, waters warm and breeding becomes more stress-induced and, therefore, less successful," she continued.
"Animals such as the marine iguana are considered vulnerable to extinction due to climate change affecting their only food source - so they need to be protected. Alongside this, the island has the Galapagos giant tortoise, which is the largest and longest living tortoise, so its habitat needs to be preserved as it has almost gone extinct once before. By the locals doing the weekly beach cleans, it at least eliminates the chance of the animals being tangled in plastic or eating trash," the surfer continued.
Even though Galapagos is considered to be the cleanest place on the planet, plastic pollution is still causing a worldwide impact on the waters and wildlife. "The Galapagos is working hard to protect its fragile ecosystem. They conduct weekly beach clean-ups and the government has outlawed single-use plastics. However, the Galapagos is under threat by plastics carried on ocean currents from the rest of the world," she said.
It is surprising as to how far things can travel in the water. "They have seen labels [on objects] from as far as Saudi Arabia, China, other South American countries, and the U.S. We must come together as an entire planet to protect our environment, our oceans, and the animals that call home," she added. Alison is doing her bit to save the environment. She even makes her bikinis from recycled plastic, and while that's a start, we need more people to join in on the efforts.