After a long stretch under Scandinavian skies, it’s wonderful to return to Happybeach again. Though the world seems very different than when I left her.
I don’t claim to have more insight into world politics than the next person, but the current rumblings from a certain orange-tinted president should make us all alert – on many levels.
Of course American legislation doesn’t have a direct impact on my native Baltic waters, nor my adopted Mediterranean ones, but rhetoric is contagious. People all over the world look to the president – and see/ hear him (a position he utterly thrives on), and in doing so they realise that it’s okay to produce these so-called ‘alternative facts’. And if everyone can make up their own facts about the seriousness of human impact on the environment, if they can design truths to suit their own purses or purposes – years of hard work to raise awareness, and struggles to reach agreements, can be quickly be undone. Like so many others, I’m concerned. So, I will keep blurbing on about my findings.
The collection of the day includes:
10 drinking straws (various colours)
1 styrofoam box (for storing fish)
1 pack of cigarettes (soggy, some smoked)
1/2 a used buckshot
3 pop cans
18 plastic bottles
7 separate bottle lids
1 tube of polyfilla (empty)
2 glass medical bottles
Assorted bits of plastic
1 chicken feed bag (empty – for eating chickens)
2 green plastic lids
1 plastic bag
Bits of rope (various shades of green)
Pieces of black irrigation pipe (longest 2m)
1 plastic shovel (green)
The October sea has been gentle and welcoming until last night, and today huge waves crash against happybeach – bringing familiar unwanted gifts. In the turbulent water a fishing net recently cast out can be spotted drifting further and further away from the shore.
And it’s with utter joy I can report that fellow beach-cleaners have emerged on happybeach and beyond!
Yesterday I spotted my local neighbours busy on happybeach picking up litter by the rocks in big plastic sacks. What a glorious sight 🙂
About 700m down the coast from our home lies the sandy beach of Agia Marina, which has been sadly neglected throughout my time in the area. Occasionally I’ve collected a bag or two on this stretch but the amounts of trash were so vast it wasn’t possible to keep up. Yet a couple of days ago we took a walk on the beach, and discovered that the worst debris had been cleaned, revealing it’s true beauty. Fingers crossed that the increase in tourists visiting this beautiful bay has encouraged the level of care for the area.
The old saying “No News is Good News” applies in many situations – but unfortunately not when it comes to the Happy Beach saga. Though I’m keeping fairly quite this summer, it isn’t due to the fact that plastic consumption has dramatically decreased or that people have suddenly decided to use bins instead of the sea.
Unfortunately there is plenty to do on the beach, though the story does seem to continue along the same strain.
The sea has been very choppy for a few weeks producing impressive waves that crash onto the shore – and uninvited passengers jump on for the ride. Plastic waste intertwines with seaweed leaving a grim looking border on the seaside.
The occasional oddity is washed up with the detritus, such as half a watermelon or a couple of onions.
The good news is that sea turtles are still laying! There are more than 15 nests on Happy Beach alone. As hatching time approaches I’ve been taking nightly walks accompanied by the most helpful and enchanting full moon – but not sightings yet.
A kind friend is doing the same on a nearby beach, and had the amazing luck to spot a couple of turtle ladies placing their precious loads in the sand. The dear things bravely confront both turbulent waters and plastic tainted nesting areas to lay their eggs.
The collection of the day includes:
* A yellow water pistol
* 3 glass bottles
* 5 juice cartons
* 2 odd socks
* plastic pipe
* a paint brush (incl. grey paint)
* 8 plastic bottles
* a sachet of sunscreen (factor 15)
* a light bulb (complete)
* plastic bits/ bags
* a silicon container
* aluminium cans
* 9 plastic coffee cups
* a feed sack
* a watermelon
* 2 onions
Tempestuous storms have dictated the mood of Happy Beach for most of 2016. Possibly just reflecting the turbulences taking place in the rest of the world. We see a few days of calm followed by breath-taking roaring waves, high winds, rain and unusual cold.
Naturally the beach is strewn with all shapes and sizes of litter. The largest was the top of a wooden cable spool (1m diameter), and a heavy rope/ fishing net tangle.
The smallest were sadly thousands and thousands of nurdles, shaping the contours of the waves along the beach after the sea settled. These little demons are toxic, dangerous and impossible to collect.
On a lighter note the storms have brought new creatures to the beach. As of yet they are friendly but you never know…
2016 made a tempestuous entry on the island. The New Year rolled in at midnight on heavy rains and meter high, roaring waves. As usual the storms bring in plenty of debris from near and far, which calls for wellies, a warm scarf and a good sense of humour.
I’m still amazed, and disheartened, at the sheer quantities of rubbish drifting onto these shores – forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but the problem remains. As long as we base such a vast amount of our daily consumption on disposable items made of plastic, styrofoam and aluminium it will only get worse.
Every day I’m confronted with things we use and throw away… why? Because we can just purchase a new one, and another new one, and another, without giving a thought to “the old”. The old doesn’t exist as soon as it’s discarded. Like magic, right? Wrong. It’s very wrong. And the planet is rapidly changing because of this collective material blindness.
New Year is a time for new beginnings – we could begin 2016 by keeping the old.
Collection of the day:
* Assorted plastic bags (all sizes, pink, white & transparent)
* 2 shoes
* Broken bucket (red)
* 1 tube of toothpaste
* 2 toothpaste tops
* 1 letter F
* 25 plastic bottles
* 2 fishing floats
* 1 fish shaped fishing tackle
* 8 straws
* Assorted pieces of styrofoam
* 4 yoghurt pots
* 3 aluminium can
* Assorted pieces of plastic
* 4 pieces of rockwool
* 1 water blaster (broken)
* 1 table leg
* 6 plastic cups
* 12 pieces of string (multi colours)
* 3 balloons
12.2kg of litter lifted off the Happy Beach point today!
When enjoying the solitude of my beach walks thoughts tend to drift towards Paris. At first they were naturally filled with deep sadness for the lives lost, and affected, by the horrid attacks in November, and currently they are preoccupied with the COP21 conference.
Though voices on the street are impaired by security restrictions, and a nuanced media coverage seems lacking, I hope against hope that energy guzzling/ profiting nations will take heed and realise that climate change is here, it is transforming our collective habitat for good, and we must take action now.
1037 plastic bottle tops found on Happy Beach over the summer
The wonderful activist site Avaaz.com started a virtual climate march in response to the restrictions made in Paris. It’s simple and still going on. Please join if you can. Peace.
Winter has gently arrived in Cyprus. Yet with average sea temperatures of 21 degrees swimming is still possible, and there’s nothing quite like starting the day with a refreshing splash!
Winter also means the start of hunting season – which is a big deal on the island. Around 45.000 permits are issued allowing locals to traipse across woodlands and fields shooting at birds, rabbits and other small creatures on Wednesdays and Sundays. Their leftovers can be found on paths, roads and even the beach. My collections count a far higher number of empty buckshot shells over the winter months..