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.
Check out our interactive timeline and review new updates, videos, research findings and updates from the Galapagos Islands in 2020
Want to learn more about the foreign distant-water fishing fleet near the outskirts of Ecuador’s Insular EEZ, which surround the Galápagos Marine Reserve?
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