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7th November, Galápagos
It's been a wee while since you have heard from us because wifi on the Galápagos has been limited, but it's about time we introduced you to a few of the incredible people we have met here:
Firstly, meet Santiago Insuasti
Phenomenal dive master, avid cyclist and a man who uses his interactions with the local community and tourists to inspire them to pick up rubbish anywhere and everywhere. He uses every opportunity he has- on the boat en route to dive sites, visiting beaches with tourists, or engaging school children in beach cleans- to share his passion and the urgency that is required to make tomorrow's planet a cleaner one.
"See it as a way to say thank you to Mother Earth's beauty."
28 October 2019, Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos.
After seven weeks of remaining positive in the midst of our plastic research, yesterday we both found ourselves overcome with emotion.
After a morning of work looking at how plastic tags are melted to be re-purposed, we headed to the infamous Tortuga Bay here on Santa Cruz Island.
At first glance it is spotless. It is an ecological haven, home to more marine iguanas than people. There is very little in terms of rubbish on the beach. Just as it should be in this precious ecosystem.
But as we looked further, we noticed a long trail of small, colourful plastic debris on the sand. There were in fact many of these plastic debris trails left behind by each receding tide line.
Not quite microplastic as they were still big enough to see, but small enough to blow away in your hand.
The whole beach was sprinkled with colourful bits and pieces of plastic. It was EVERYWHERE. It was a shocking moment to witness this extent of human impact on such a natural habitat.
26th October, Galápagos
Another day, another meeting!
Thank you @conservationorg for chatting to us yesterday. Yet another NGO working to preserve the natural ecosystem here on Galápagos.
Alongside community action projects that protect endemic flora and fauna, Conservación Internacional are working tirelessly to clean up litter from even the most remote of beaches across these islands.
Using systematic clean ups, they have collected over 36 TONNES in just 12 months of collecting (Jan-April for three years).
All waste generated on Galápagos stays on Galápagos. In such a pristine and remote environment there is an incomprehensible amount of rubbish. It certainly makes you think twice every time you buy something disposable and it truly highlights the need to get creative with waste plastic.
19th October Guayaquil, Ecuador
Yesterday morning we were given a tour of @oletnat Water Treatment Plant. It is the first of its kind here in Guayaquil, and is striving to restore the water quality of the city’s two rivers by stopping companies from dumping their polluted water into the water sources and instead treating it here at the plant.
It was especially interesting for us to hear about how despite government legislation, implementation and regulation of measures to improve water quality are not easy to achieve.
It certainly highlights the need for input on both sides: the people in power who are deciding on the rules AND the individuals and companies who choose how to act within these regulations.
Thank you for looking after us so well @oletnat !
7th October Veracruz, Panama
50 volunteers, 200m of beach and 80kg of litter.
Thanks to the support of @suprepublic, local volunteers and students from @ymcaschool we collected 10 full bags of litter in the space of 4 hours.
The more we collected, the more the tide washed up.
At the top of the collection leaderboard were: straws, bottle tops (and especially their plastic backing), disposable plastic cutlery and polystyrene...
In just a matter of hours, we all had an incredibly eye-opening experience. Raising awareness of this issue and the impact that just one person can have by picking up a few pieces of litter each day is invaluable and we were so grateful to have had this opportunity today.
If you are in need of some motivation or inspiration, head over to @5thingsclear which was founded on this philosophy.
Bit by bit, we can all make a difference.
*disclaimer: 80kg was sensibly guesstimated based on 20kg rucksack comparison..*
2nd October Saying goodbye to Canada
There is so much to say and not enough space to say it so we will instead head over to our blog for that BUT we must share with you that after an incredible 2 weeks making mats out of milkbags with our wonderful host Angela (MILKBAGSunlimited), we have officially waved goodbye to Canada!
We are just finishing off the video for our second initiative before we move onto to the next here in Panama with @localinpty.
10th September We're off...
10 months of planning has finally come to an end. Stay tuned for updates upon our arrival 😎