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!
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.
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!
Some days are so perfect they are impossible to put into words. Sunkissed sky, soft, rolling sea, palm trees gently waving in the breeze and a long walk on the beach without a soul in sight is just a feeble description. Ohhh Happy Beach, you are wonderful! Only snake in Paradise are the relentless lost items. And the collection of the day focuses on stereotypes.
Our walk took us further down the shore and we were greeted by such a depressing sight. Plastic debris strewn all over the beautiful shore. So much trash. A girly, pink theme appeared – including a pink lipstick – and a disturbing tube of “Fair & Lovely” face wash from India. I visited the amazing country a couple of years ago and saw many similar products. It infuriates me no end how people cash in on our disgusting favouritism of light skin.
Furthermore it didn’t take long for Molly and Eddie to get entangled in a net. Of course they had me to help them out but I dread to think about the marine life that could have got into serious trouble.
This will be our last visit to the beach for 12 days, though a dear houseguest will be watching over her. Keeping down the surge of Styrofoam, plastic and waste can at times be overwhelming. Today’s collection includes 7 washing line pegs, assorted plastic coffee cups and 5 fishing line floats. Oh! And the 1st cigarette butt surfaced, which is a sad development, as these shores have been nicotine-free until now.
2 plastic bottles
1 black felt tip pen
1 tub of molasses (half full)
Part of a garden chair (green)
5 fishing net floats
3 plastic coffee cups
1 Umbrella handel
1 green plastic flower
Pipe (various lengths)
7 clothes pegs (mostly broken)
1 tiny medicine bottle (choriomon)
6 bits of Styrofoam
Assorted bits of plastic small & large
After a few cold, stormy days our beloved beach has been intensely junked over. Now that the sun is back and sea has calmed down all kinds of items appear that have lost their owners. We have decided to categorise and log these lonely items in case someone, somewhere is missing them.
The bags of the days contain:
* 1 fishing net (very tangled)
* 3 bits of rope (blue, yellow, white)
* 3 dark brown medicine bottles
* A large yellow plastic cover
* 5 syringes
* 1 small Bic lighter (was red now light pink)
* 1 baseball cap
* 1 unused suppository
* 1 scraper
* 1 CAT sandal – child size
* 1 tiny white bow tie
* 1 sock (possibly grey)
* 2 green buckshots (used)
* 3 toothbrushes
* 6 plastic bottles
* A dozen straws – various sizes
* 5 smaller bits of styrofoam
* 1/2 5 l. canister w. lid
* Plastic tubs – various sizes
* Plastic lids – various sizes
* Orange bucket (broken)
* 7 aluminium cans in various stages of decay
* 200 bottle tops – assorted colours
* 6 unidentified plastic sticks with yellow liquid
* 2 short bits of rubber pipe
* 1 small ice cream spoon
* dozens bits of coloured bits of plastic