This spring is proving particularly fickle. Gorgeous, calm days with turquoise waters are quickly replaced by thunder and hail storms, with tempestuous waves to boot. The heavy rains form streams that transports reddish soil downhill from nearby fields directly into the sea – creating a strange looking cocktail as the meet. These fields are used for crops and I regularly see the famers spraying them with pesticides – needless to say these toxins are also being carried into my beloved bay.
And of course there’s plenty of plastic still added to the mix. Recently I stubbled across a disturbing video on the consequences of this problem created by Olio. It claims that 1 in 4 fish contains micro-plastics. This is nothing short of a disaster. But looking over the history of Happy Beach findings – it’s sadly not surprising.
On this gloomy note the collection includes:
* 5 plastic bags
* 3 cigarette ends
* 1 shoe (blue Micky Mouse)
* 1 vodka bottle – complete
* 1 Ouzo bottle 12 – top only
* Assorted plastic bits
* 1 rusty spray can
* 1 plastic plate
* 1 yogurt tub
* 2 syringes
* 1 medical bottle
* 3 fishing floats
* 1 pen – blue
* 1 straw
* bottle tops
* 5 plastic water bottles
* 2 lighters
* 1 knife handle – blue & white
* 5 water bottles
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)
Winter on Happy Beach has so far been splendid; sunny and mild, with only two days of rain until this very day. In fact dams, lakes, woods, gardens, orchards and fields are urgently craving visits from the clouds. The calm sea made it easy to spot rubbish drifting around in the bay – like this styrofoam fish box lid salvaged by a swim out to open sea.
Otherwise the gentle weather provided a small breather in which it was possible to gather the heaps of trash that had been shoved higher up on land in order to prevent the debris getting washed back into the water in stormier times.
In addition to the gentle weather Happy Beach had a long awaited family visit from the lovely Kosma Kiani crew: Jonna & Georg with their furry companions: Donna & Romeo. Together we lifted 10.4kg of plastic off the beach – and spoke about sea travel, trash, consumption and dreams.
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.
It’s a joy to revisit the coves and rocks, pools and dunes of Happy Beach after a long summer up north. In my absence the beach has been cared for by our kind housesitter, who discovered a struggling hatchling from one of the turtle nests. He cleaned her up, and helped her take her first little strokes in the welcoming sea.
photos courtesy of Leif Weston Andersen
Over the last couple of weeks a fair amount of debris has been washed ashore due to turbulent waters as the island approaches Autumn. Collection of the day included:
1 bottle of bleach – empty 😦
1 bottle of dish soap – 1/5 remains
4 fishing floats
Big piece of blue plastic
1 metal bottle top
4 bits of pipe (black and white)
Odd lid-thingy with dots
3 plastic bottles
2 broken bits of Lego
Summer has arrived to Happy Beach with hot, sunny days and sweltering nights. The sea is still ever changing – soft one day, tempestuous the other. Even so the amounts of debris has fallen drastically since wintertime. It currently competes with rubbish left behind by fishermen and others. From time to time leisurely visitors walk past the collection point and study this curious installation – hopefully they might add to the batch, as I’ll be leaving these happy shores for a while for another trip north.
It’s been an adventure getting to know this little corner of the bay. I’ve been in awe of the beauty all around me. Humbled by the perpetual sea, and her many moods. Frustrated by the mountains of rubbish pouring onto the shore. Yet this has taught me so much about the condition of our planet. And an added bonus – at time my only motivators – has been the amazing projects/ people I’ve come across on this journey through social media. In Cornwall the relentless 2 Minute Beach Cleaners inspire hoards of people to care for the UK coastline. The Litterati project invites people everywhere to document trash in their virtual dumpsite. Two Hands Project and Take3ForTheSea both work hard to keep Australia’s beaches beautiful. In Hawaii Nurdle in the Rough makes jewellery from collected plastic and in Cornwall Smartie Lids on the Beach creates artworks from found items. And there are so many, many more great people working hard all over the globe picking up rubbish, sometimes in nasty conditions, because they believe one person can make a change. I will take this with me, as I say goodbye for now.
Happy Beach has been roaring the last couple of days – not letting me close to her at all. This could be due to the build up of an upcoming Coptic Storm, effects of the new moon or a general rage against the stories of dire human suffering connected to the Mediterranean.
The trafficking of people seeking a better life across her depths is not a new phenomenon at all but I do hope that the current media spotlight will force people with actual power to remove their blinkers and look for sustainable solutions to problems that we have contributed to.
The collection of today included:
* 1 oil drum
* 1 top of plastic canister
* aluminium cans
* 1 plastic hand
* half a football
* 9 plastic bottles
* 1 lighter
* hand-fulls of Styrofoam
* assorted plastic
* 2 women’s flip-flops
* 1 shoe sole
* 1 pink plastic rake (end bit)
* 1 medicine bottle
* 6kg bag of trash lifted out of the collection point.