According to a report in the journal Science, published in 2015, about 192 countries generated 275 million tons of plastic waste; of these, 12.7 million tons end up in our oceans.
Carlos Green Ruiz, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Science and Limnology (ICMyL) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mazatlán, said that during the holiday periods more solid waste is produced on beaches, which is then dragged into our oceans by waves.
The problem is that when the garbage is in the aquatic environment fauna confuses it with food, and is a victim of intoxication, suffocation and death. The plastic bags, PET plastics and the plastic grids that hold together the cans of a six pack are the most frequent solids carried out into our oceans, he warned.
Responsibility of all
For Nuria Méndez Ubach, an academic at UNAM, the fundamental principle of beach care must begin with us.
Likewise, “it is up to the authorities to have cleaning brigades on the beaches, and other tourist places, to keep those environments clean.” In addition, it is essential to raise awareness in cities and schools through education.
Green Ruiz emphasized that through campaigns, people and visitors should be asked to deposit their waste in classified cans, which authorities must install in specific places, or if cans are not available, take away the garbage they produce until finding a suitable place to leave it.” The clean places are the ones that get dirty less, not the ones that get cleaned more,” he said.
“Blue Flag” is an international emblem that recognizes beaches and marinas that have achieved excellence in water quality, environmental management and education, safety and services. It has standardized protocols and a strict selection, verification and monitoring process. Solid waste control is essential to award the flag.
It is a program developed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark. In our country, Pronatura México is the exclusive operator. According to data from “Blue Flag”, for the 2017-2018 season our country could have 35 beaches in this category (25 renewed and 10 candidates), after approval by the International Jury of the organization.
Of the 17 coastal states of Mexico, only six have beaches with the Blue Flag emblem: Baja California (Playa Chileno in Los Cabos), Nayarit (Playa Nuevo Vallarta Norte in Bahía Banderas), Jalisco (Playa Palmares, in Puerto Vallarta), Guerrero (Icacos Beach in Acapulco and Playa el Palmar in Zihuatanejo), Oaxaca (Chahué Beach, Huatulco) and Quintana Roo (Playa Delfines in Cancun).