Images: Plastic Pollution’s Impact In Galápagos

Plastic Pollution and Immediate Impacts in the Galápagos

Since July, 23 2020 

Residents making their way back from Playa Mansa at Tortuga Bay. They are carrying back oversized bags full of plastic bottles and trash, most with foreign labels.

An assortment of trash and barrels, many marked with Asian characters are removed from Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

Local residents collect bottles at Playa Brava, Tortuga Bay, Isla Santa Cruz

Bottles and other trash recovered at Tortuga Bay, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz

All of these bottles that are collected have to be carried back 2.2 km by these residents on the trail that leads from Tortuga Bay to downtown Puerto Ayora

Some of these bottles have been collected from Playa Mansa, which is another 1.1 km+ past where the trail originally reaches Tortuga Bay – that’s at least 3.3 km one way and another 3.3 km back with all of the trash they find.

Plastic bottles recovered by local resident via kayak at Las Tintoreras, Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela

Bottles recovered from rocky volcanic shores, some found far back from the shoreline

The impact of this fleet is not just a problem for marine life and the long-term health of Galapagos’ ecosystem – it is also a problem for the residents of the islands right now. Pollution and waste from the fleet has already begun to wash ashore, with reports from a handful of locations across the islands already. This shore pollution will continue to be a threat to the birds and land-dwelling species of the Galapagos long after the fleet is gone without ongoing maintenance.

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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