In total we collected 54 bags full of waste (550 kilos). We even managed to find a vacuum cleaner and numerous kitchen pots.
Normally, the number one most picked up item during beach cleanups are cigarette butts. However, at this cleanup, the number one most picked up item was wet wipes. Wet wipes may be convenient, but the truth is that they have a horrendous impact on the environment. Wet wipes contain microscopic fibers of plastic that are not biodegradable and when they enter our waters, they contribute to the millions of tons of microplastic that already exists. Once they enter the water they can even be ingested by marine life as many creatures mistake wet wipes as a food source. Here’s an example:
As you can see from the photo above, when a wet wipe is in water it looks just like a jellyfish. So if you’re going to use this product the least you can do is throw it in a bin to ensure that it won’t end up in the stomach of a sea turtle. Just because they are labeled as ‘disposable’ does not mean that they magically disintegrate when being tossed.
Moreover, during the cleanup a live mouse was found inside of a glass beer bottle. The mouse managed to make its way inside of the bottle, however, was not able to make its way out. In order to remove the mouse from the bottle, the bottle was carefully broken so that the mouse could be set free. This is yet another example of how the human footprint puts other species in danger. In this scenario a mouse was affected, but we also found many glass items that already had been broken which could have potentially injured anyone walking barefoot at the beach.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taken things to the beach, but whatever you bring with you should be disposed of accordingly to ensure that no harm is done to anyone. No matter how big or small any type of waste may be, from a straw to a plastic bottle, it is a danger to all life on Earth.
To help reduce your waste be sure to check out our online Eco Shop of environmentally friendly products.
To learn more about how littering can harm wildlife you can read our post about the Dangers of Balloons.
And if you didn’t manage to join us at the Kourion Beach Cleanup, keep an eye out for one of our upcoming cleanup events here and Let’s Make Cyprus Green together!