Category Archives: coffee cups

Shifting Sands

Summer is refusing to loosen her hot and very dry grip of Happybeach this year. October is seeing high temperatures and still not a single drop of rain. Pleasant yet disturbing at the same time. Gardens are thirsty and every little gust of wind kicks up clouds of dust. Still it’s great to be back after my travels and exploring the beach with Molly!

molly-and-i
Molly and her human

Island life carries on as usual. The trees are filling with avocado, olives, lemon, pomegranate, figs, pomelo and bananas – soon ready for picking. And October means the start of hunting season, so sounds of gunshots and howling dogs are to become a fixture of Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.

Happybeach has changed radically over the summer. In addition to the endless piles of rubbish (no big surprise there) the continuous heavy waves have totally restructured the beachside by shifting the sands and bringing out the rocky surface below.
These photos show the same stretch of beach with a year between.

And of course the collecting must go on. It’s discouraging to discover that local tourists are adding to the pollution problem much more than visitors from abroad. One would think that they care for their island and the image it projects when the beaches are covered in trash. But the litter left on the seaside after barbecues and picnics is appalling. Everything from towels to plastic food containers to countless cans and bottles get discarded without a second thought.

ummer-2016
Welcome to Cyprus

Collection of the day includes:

  • 23 plastic bottles
  • 21 bottles tops
  • 11 straws
  • 7 plastic cups
  • 2 big yogurt tubs (used for holding bait)
  • 1 fishing float
  • 1 beer bottle (glass)
  • 3 lighters
  • 1 pair of goggles
  • 1 sea horse mould (plastic)
  • 1 ping-pong bat (wood)
  • 1 empty bottle of sunscreen (factor 6)
  • 1 flip-flop
  • 1 football
  • 1/2 syringe
  • plastic bags
  • 1 cigaret end
  • 4 cans (broken)
  • 1 diver’s suit
  • bits of plastic
  • rope in various colours
  • garden pipe
  • 1 small towel

Total removed from beach: 4kg

the-things-you-find
Naked diver wanted

Trash and Turtles

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.

watermelon

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.

turtle laying
photo curtesy of W. Norwood

The collection of the day includes:
* A yellow water pistol
* 3 glass bottles
* 5 juice cartons
* 2 odd socks
* styrofoam
* 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
* straws
* string
* a feed sack
* a watermelon
* 2 onions

5.5kg of plastic lifted from Happy Beach

rubbish face

Poetry of the Sea

Summer is here and a cooling dip in the sea beckons!

Rarely can one enjoy a swim without bumping into bits of plastic bags and styrofoam. Not only does this make the experience unpleasant, but it becomes a very tangible reminder of the conditions suffered by the local marine life.

Strange yet wonderful things are happening to this life on Happybeach.
Over the past two weeks nest upon nest of Sea Turtle eggs have appeared in the sand. Subsequently the Cyprus Wildlife Society came by to document the nests.

sea turtle nest

They could report that last year the entire bay housed 43 nests – this year they already registered 160 nests. And the sea turtles have been laying one month earlier due to the mild winter. This is an intense increase in numbers and I can’t help wondering how much human interference plays a role. Are we experiencing the consequences of global warming?

aphrodite

Thankfully people all over the world are combating both global warming and ocean pollution. The wonderful 2 minute beach clean movement based in Cornwall managed to organise a national beach cleaning day all over the UK yesterday. As a tribute to this great event I was joined by sound artist Thomas Burø and we did an extra big cleanup, and created a Trash Poem for good measure.

Collection included:
* sheet of styrofoam
* 1 ghost net
* 3 glass bottles (1 broken)
* 1 rucksack
* 1 sheet of paracetamol
* 8 plastic bottles
* 2 shoes
* 1 water pistol
* one doll’s torso
* 6 plastic cups
* plastic bits
* 1 ice cream spoon
* 1 toy rake
* bottle tops
* wine cork
* string
* bubble wrap
* buckshot
* oil canister
* an onion
* an orange
* fishing line
* fishing hook

X.jpg

creatures of the storm

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.

fishing stuff

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.

tangle

On a lighter note the storms have brought new creatures to the beach. As of yet they are friendly but you never know…

lady of the sea

aqua gent

The storm collection:

* 12 screw tops
* lighter
* 1 small toothpaste tube
* 103 bottle tops
* 16 plastic bottles
* Rope & string (all colours)
* 2 aluminium cans + bits
* assorted plastic bits
* styrofoam pieces
* corner of a garden table
* 3 heels
* 1 comb
* 2 syringes
* 2 detergent bottles
* 2 sponges
* Lure (yellow fish)
* 1 toy shoe
* 20 plastic bags
* 2 plastic cups
* 6 fishing floats
* fishing line
* 6 pegs
* 3 ghost fishing nets
* 2 yogurt pots
* 1 toy soldier
* 18 straws
* 1 baby shoe
* 1 beach shoe
* small spoon (plastic)
* 10 sheet of thick plastic (used locally for greenhouses)

* 10,2kg plastic lifted off the beach

bad hair day

Begin the New with the Old..

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.

roaring sea

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.

2016 and joy
94 shoes collected on Happy Beach in 2015

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

F off

* 25 plastic bottles
* 2 fishing floats
* 1 fish shaped fishing tackle
* 8 straws
* Assorted pieces of styrofoam
* 4 yoghurt pots
* 3 aluminium can

strings

* 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

hopeless joy

12.2kg of litter lifted off the Happy Beach point today!

Thinking of Paris..

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.

Peace
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.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/paris_virtual_march/?pv=119&rc=fb

Nina

Otherwise my walks witness the tempestuous sea churning up plenty of rubbish on the shores.

Collection of the day includes:
17 plastic bottles
10 aluminium cans
Several broken cans
4 plastic cups
Fishing line
2 plastic plates
1 spoon (red)
1 fork plastic
1 small knife
Assorted plastic
Styrofoam
1 chair leg
2 fruit juice cartons
1 fishing reel
3 toothpaste tube tops
Bits of rope
Bits of tube
13 turtle eggs
1 dead squid
Disposable razor heads (6 pack, 2 left)
1 smartie lid
2 plastic containers
2 clothes pegs ( plastic)
2 disposable lighters
3 toy wheels

3.6kg of plastic lifted from Happy Beach in total

dinner is served

Suddenly this summer…

After longer spell abroad it’s a joy to return to a hot, summery Happy Beach. The sea is turbulent and, as always, endlessly attempting to discard our rubbish back on the shore. One totally heartwarming homecoming event is; that the turtle nests are hatching!! We had a visit from the Cyprus Wildlife Society today, who register nests, and dig out the hatched eggs to see the progress.

turtle eggs

This is such exciting news, and as it turns out, the nests seem to be doing well. We marked off the nests when we found them 6 weeks ago with sticks to try to protect them from playful visitors and the occasional car driving on the beach. Now the baby turtle are making their epic journey into the sea. Here are some tiny turtle tracks…

turtle tracks

Collection of the day:

* 13 plastic bottles
* 2 flip-flops (not a pair)
* 1 broken sun-bed

sun bed

* 1 glass bottle
* 2 bottle tops
* 1 beer can
* Assorted plastic
* 2 plastic espresso cups
* 8 straws
* 1 aubergine
* 1 phone cradle (red plastic)

phone home