Plastic pollution is something that is already present in almost all the beaches around the world, and Playa Grande, of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, is no an exception. A beach that is perceived as clean, is invaded by plastics of different sizes. There are from the largest, such as bottles, to tiny pieces that are even easily confused with the sand.
Photo: Christian Díaz Chuquisengo, 2017.
This November began the leatherback turtle nesting season (Dermochelys coriacea), on this important site for reproduction. In this month, different beach clean-up days were also held in Tamarindo Bay, resulting in the extraction of a large amount of plastic, especially products that are for single use and others that can even be reused or recycled.
With the support of different government institutions, organizations, neighbors, tourists and volunteers, this November we collected around 485 pounds (220 kilograms) of waste in Playa Grande and Playa Ventanas in several cleaning campaigns. Around 15% of the material collected could have been reused or recycled before they reached the sea, since this percentage represents plastic bottles, aluminum cans and glass containers that, due to their conditions, had to be discarded in their entirety.
There are several efforts for an effective management of recyclable materials in the Bay of Tamarindo and it is important to highlight the work of the ADI Tamarindo (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Tamarindo), and the Municipality of Santa Cruz with the collection campaign of recyclable material the first Tuesday of each month (more information here). While on the other side of the Tamarindo Estuary, there is the work of the Solid Waste Management Program of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, where they receive and separate PET plastics, aluminum and glass cans.
Despite this, the challenge in the bay is even greater. A lot of microplastic still remains on the beaches and now its presence is almost unnoticed. Hence the importance of carrying out or helping campaigns that seek to reduce plastic pollution, such as the No Straw Challenge, Sin Pajilla Por Favor that was started in Playa Grande, or others that have been emerging at different scales, either at a more regional or even national, such as the website zonalibredeplastico.org.
The challenge of eliminating the discarded plastic on the beaches is a task that involves the participation of all, and the decision lies in the use and disposition that is given. Support local initiatives, manage your own initiative, organize with your neighbors and enforce that right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.
* Special thanks to Nadia Tarlow, Las Baulas National Marine Park, the Tamarindo Development Association, the Tourist Police, neighbors and businessmen of Playa Grande and Tamarindo who have given their support. Abigail Parker for the translation. See you at the next beach clean-up.