Raja Ampat in West Papua of Indonesia is known for being paradise for divers, bird-watchers and nature lovers. It is one of the world’s last remaining sanctuaries for flora and fauna. You would think that rubbish doesn’t end up on the beaches of islands in this area, but it does, as these holiday-makers discovered.
These divers spent a week enjoying the bountiful sites in Raja Ampat and were based on Birie Island. One night a tropical storm fell over the island, bringing in rubbish with the tides, leaving the beach full of garbage in the morning. These cleanup heroes decided they wouldn’t leave the island looking this way, and grabbed some bags. In the space of two hours, they had cleared the beach of all litter, nearly stepping on a deadly sea snake while they were at it!
The divers said the main things washed up on the beach were plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws, plastic bags, polystyrene pieces and single-serve plastic cups. Some of the more unusual items included plastic toy dinosaurs and toothbrushes.
It’s terrible to see rubbish in paradise, but it’s good to know what kind of garbage is out there in the ocean and plastic and polystyrene are the main culprits. You can make a difference by reducing the amount of plastic you consume, eliminating plastic bags from your household diet completely. Use a reusable bag instead – they last for life! Practice the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and let’s give our oceans a chance. We can’t rely on cleanup heroes alone to do the work. It’s a joint effort.
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