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#481770 01/04/14 05:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 94
OP Offline
My wife and I took a walk from Sapphire Beach to El Secreto

for lunch today. We counted a grand total of 91 flip flops along the cart path, none matching, a construction helmet and two welders masks. What a mess, totally depressing. Will this never change?

Last edited by awhatukeeguy; 01/04/14 06:18 PM.
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 254
It will change when people start deciding to stop using items that come in throw away containers such as styrofoam and plastic bottles. Just because something can be recycled in some places, doesn't mean it can be recycled everywhere in the world. Nor do developing countries have the infrastructure or money to secure their waste disposal supply chain properly. This is a worldwide problem, not just Belize's.

Belize is at the western edge of the Caribbean and all the area garbage washes up on our beaches. What you saw was garbage that has washed in from other countries. I am currently seeing bottles from Jamaica on the beach that washed in with the sargasso. Last month was Haiti. Two months ago in was from Honduras. Next month?

What impact do plastic bottles have on the environment?
Plastic and the Enviroment
On average we use 168 plastic water bottles each per year.

We spend on average $588.00 on water bottles each year

It takes 700 years before plastic bottles start to decompose, and can take up to 1000 years to fully decompose

Approximately 86% of plastic bottles aren't recycled in USA, in NZ it's 78%

Approximately 1500 bottles end up in land fills and the ocean��.every second

60 million plastic water bottles are used each day in the US alone, 30 Million in Europe, more than 100 million world wide every day

It takes 3-5 litres of water to make 1 plastic bottle

Plastic bottles are a petroleum product and use 151 billion litres of oil to produce each year. That's enough to run 500,000 cars per year.

The water industry uses a further 1.7 billion litres of oil in distributing the water bottles around the USA alone

2,500,000 tons of a carbon dioxide was produced in the manufacturing of the plastic bottles each year

Up to 24% of bottled water comes directly from the tap

United Nations Environment Programme estimates that in every single square mile of the sea, there's 46,000 pieces of plastic floating - worldwide

The Algalita Marine Research foundation estimates as much as 1 million pieces in 1 square km in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

80% of all rubbish in the ocean comes from activities from the land, 20% from the activities at sea

Algalita Marine Research foundation recently did a study of 660 fish that shows on average each fish contained more than 2 pieces of plastic. One fish had 26 particles

There's an area estimated to be the size of Texas (some say twice the size) in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is a swirling mass of plastic trash

Many researches and environmental organisations list plastic and the number one threat to our marine environment

Each year millions of birds, mammals and fish die from plastic because they either eat it or get caught in it

8 million items of marine litter have been estimated to enter oceans and seas every day,

Over 80 species of seabirds have been found to ingest plastic

90% of Laysan Albatross chick carcasses contain plastic

In turtles, plastic has been shown to block intestines and make the animals float so they can't dive for food

In a 1998 survey, 89 per cent of the litter observed floating on ocean surface in the North Pacific was plastic.

The AMRF in 2002 found 6 kilos of plastic for every kilo of plankton near the surface. This can be as much as 30-60 times in some places

70 per cent of the marine litter that enters the sea ends up on the seabed

it takes about 272 billion litres of water a year, worldwide, just to make the empty bottles.

It's expected that in 2010, for every single person on this planet we'll use 100 pounds of plastic

Plastics are like diamonds���they really are forever


Beach bum, butterfly stalker, native plant enthusiast.
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,046
Thanks for posting this important message. I have walked many beaches in this world and am always shocked by the amount of plastic that washes up.

Everyone should think twice about their plastic use and help to reduce or at least re-use.

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,000
I was out walking the beach this morning like I do every morning and it is disgraceful. While having coffee this morning with neighbors one of them suggested that because of the adverse way this affect tourists that maybe San Pedro should have a number of employed men specifically cleaning the beach up north everyday. That would be their job. This could also apply to the rest of the Island also.

Resorts like Capt. Morgans, Grande Carib and others would still take care of their stretches of beach but it is the beach areas in between that are bad and if not regularly picked up they look terrible after a few weeks of a clean up. A lot of money is generated on AC and once the worse of it was picked up on the whole shoreline, if that is possible, the everyday maintenance would not be too bad.

I have participated in neighbor beach cleanups periodically, and they are very good, but an organized work force is needed to control this.

This is something that could be done today. Other long term solutions are years away I'm afraid. The North End (starting over the bridge, Elbert wink ) looks terrible but I'm sure this is so in other areas on the windward side of the Island.

Formerly from somewhere on a beach in Belize
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 13,675
True , it's a condition of the world and most of the garbage has floated in from the open sea but some is a result of poorly educated local litterbugs. Local litter educational campaigns are effective like 'Betta no Litta' but under funded and not supported by government.
The immediate problem on our beach is also not addressed by government and will only be corrected by going down to the beach with a rake and bag. North and South :-)

White Sands Dive Shop
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 842
I also think cruise ships are shredding and dumping because we do not stop them. Maybe that is a good job for the newly formed coast guard to look into. Property owners who do not take care of their site as they wait to build hold also be held accountable.
It is pretty bad right now as the wind is pushing stuff onshore. I am also always amazed that wealthy landowners seem to stop their cleanup right at their property lines and do not get their staff to at least do a cursory cleanup next door.

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 13,675
I've cleaned my downwind neighbors beach for years, also spent hundreds paying others to do it. They are foreign landowners, absent from Belize. Property taxes decades ago would tax this situation higher than occupied land but someone along the way deemed this practice illegal and there is no difference now.
Perhaps a town ordnance taxing foreign land speculators could produce revenue to maintain vacant lots.

White Sands Dive Shop
elbert #481950 01/06/14 11:30 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 147
Here. Here. I couldn't agree more!

elbert #482024 01/06/14 07:58 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 47
I couldn't agree more .. I hate the words tax but something should be done about the garbage. I clean both my neighbors properties as well ... both are vacant lots with foreign owners ... one of the owners came and commented on how great his land looked ... Maybe we should get a section on here just addressing the garbage on our shores and see what ideas people come up with ..

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,266
In Mata Grande we have had two recent resident-funded beach clean-ups.
First one was when the horrific trash spill happened a month or so ago, and the second one concluded yesterday.
Cost to clean from Journey's End to Rojo on the second clean-up - $375 US. This is about a mile and a half of beach, and the cost includes bagging and hauling.
If somebody takes the time to collect donations from a few concerned citizens an area can be kept clean.
My upsets are with resorts and owners who toss stuff on adjacent lots (as noted by others above) and those establishments and individuals who think that a garbage pile just across the road, sometimes IN the lagoon, is ok.
Elbert is right - for beach-trash, if it bothers you pick it up. Much easier than lobbying government on the subject, and not all that costly in the end.
As lots are developed the owners tend to get involved, meanwhile the rest of us who get to enjoy this place in relative tranquility might as well do our part to keep things tidy.

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