Collecting garbage along the rocky coast
by Thomas Brückmann
Fotos: Thomas Brückmann
It is once again “Levante” - as so often this year. The wind is blowing through the Strait incessantly. As if it were intensified by a nozzle it is sweeping over the coast of Tarifa with wind forces of 6 to 8. Since we can’t offer whale watching trips these days, we try to spend the available time meaningfully.
In the evening we, the volunteers, met each other at the littoral coastal region east of the port of Tarifa at low tide. Particularly on windy days this place sees a lot of visitors swimming and lounging in the sun, as the small beach is sheltered by the following rocky coast.
Nine of us worked on a section of 200 meters of beach and collected all the residues of humans that were either washed up by the sea or left directly on the beach by beach-goers.
It just took an hour until we got together a high mountain of garbage. In particular numerous bigger and smaller pieces of plastic built the largest part of trash. The second largest fraction consisted of empty packaging - cans, bags, bottles – mainly made of plastic and metal. Cigarette butts were found in high numbers as well. What drew our attention the most was the bulky waste which obviously was left from overnight camping.
The following chart shows the result of our one-hour beach clean-up:
At the end the collected garbage was put into the waste containers at the roadside and therefore added to the local waste disposal.
It is quite substantial, what high amount of debris we found on a relatively short part of the beach. Projected to whole coastal regions enormous amounts may be expected.
Plastic in our oceans doesn’t degrade or decompose. It just fragments into smaller particles due to UV radiation and wave action.
This problematic nature calls for immediate action and rethinking, to avoid packaging or at least replace them with bio-degradable materials.