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Beach cleanup

On our last day on Easter Island we participated in a beach cleanup. When you think of a beach cleanup, you might imagine sandy beaches and sunshine. So did I. However, when we arrived this was not exactly what we found. We arrived at these amazing cliffs, made of a red volcanic rock (hani hani) the same rocks ancient carvers used to make heads for the moai. Due to this rock, this beach is normally pink, although on this day the beach was hidden by crashing waves and I am not sure we believed it was really there at all initially. 

The site alone already made it worth our trip there; the view was spectacular. Upon arrival we were received by very knowledgeable Lulo and, since we were in a national park, a group of park rangers. Lulo is the executive director of ‘te mau o te vaikava’, a non-profit organization working on marine conservation projects on Rapa Nui. Plastic pollution is a large problem on the island, so beach cleanups are done multiple times a month! Luckily, we have Tavake on board who will tell us more about it in the next days

Lulo and the rangers guided us over the rocks, to a corner where we started collecting plastic. We found fragments under every rock, with no end in sight. You would think we got used to finding plastic everywhere, after finding fragments out on the open ocean with no land or ships in sight. But I don’t know if it is something someone could ever get used to or should ever get used to. The rangers helped cleaning up the beach and Lulo showed special fragments he found; some with shark bites, some with coral growing on them. It painfully shows plastic has become part of the ecosystem – providing a place for organisms to attach to and live on. Cleaning beaches might feel like a drop in the ocean. And it probably is. But that is exactly why we do it. To feel the consequences, to realize how hard it is to get plastic out of the ecosystem once it is there. To confront ourselves with what it takes to empty a beach from human waste. I am very curious what the beaches in Pitcairn will look like and how it will affect me. We are unsure if we will manage to set foot on the island, but we are on our way. We’ve departed, set sail, and are moving forward faster than expected. 

Greetings from 27’15.19, 112’23.79!


SOO enlightening, we tend to think of plastics as a coastal form of misbehavior,until we realise that streams can deliver plastic from hundreds of miles inland

robert  |  25-05-2024 02:20 uur

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