Nothing Can Come of Nothing

Nothing Can Come of Nothing
Cigarette buds from Borik plaža

I started picking up trash from the beach in Mexico. I remember not liking Acapulco because of its dirty beaches. Or at least that was what my family used to tell me, we spent a lot of summer vacations there, but I don’t remember them because I was too young. My first memory of Acapulco is when I was around 20 years old (still young?), I spent a couple of months there. When I arrived at the beach I concurred with my family thoughts. It was indeed a dirty beach, the sand was not clear as in la Riviera Maya and there were so many bottles, plastic bags and straws. I was a little bit disappointed. A local lady told me there was a pretty fishermen’s beach that was usually empty from tourists. I decided to go and it was just amazing, stunning sea, clearer than the other beaches, and little fishes swimming around. You could even see turtles from the shore! There were only fishermen and a very small restaurant for them. No beach loungers and no visitors. Just people that made their living from the ocean and their people. I went almost daily to enjoy the water, salt and breeze. Little by little I started noticing that the beach was still dirty, it was way cleaner than the other beaches in the region but still I found loads of plastic bottles and such. One day I asked the fishermen for a trash bag and I began recollecting bottles, hair ties, beer cans, etc. They asked me why I cared. Not really sure what I answered but we became friends. They invited me to fish with them and let me use their fish fridge for my wine and beers. I kept recollecting trash there and when the summer ended I went back to Mexico city.

Another beach that I found amazing and dirty was Worthing beach in Barbados. This happened in 2019-2020 and COVID was on. I used to snorkel frequently and everytime I went in the water I found trash, such as hair ties, beer bottles, plastic bags and face masks. I tried to get most of it out, the little objects were easier to get out. I was a little bit disgusted to touch the face mask, but the other option was worse, leaving them there and allowing them to be a menace to wild life. I just washed my hands when I got out and did not touch my face. Some big objects I could not get out, it was not possible without help. Once I tried getting a huge plastic bag but it had sand inside and I couldn’t lift it. I also found some snorkel gear and a great deal of fishing line. I decided I needed to do more, this time no one asked me why I did it. Hubby totally supported me. I applied to be a volunteer in The Barbados Sea Turtle Project. And so it began, walking at nights in lonely beaches, as a Mexican I was taught this was a risky action. I met amazing, brave and unique people. I am so happy I did it, it definitely took me out of my comfort zone. We did not clean the beaches as such but helped the sea turtles by ensuring their safety, while nesting, incubating and hatching. Amazing times! Bruises, cuts and injuries, but hey, some reptiles were saved!

This time I have been spending time on Borik beach, totally different to the sandy ones. I remembered my times in the other oceans. I love the smell of salt in the water and it always puts me in a good mood. I respect nature and I am ashamed of what some humans, I like to think it is not the greater majority, have been doing to her. I have been picking up trash here too. In 2022 I am finding plenty of face masks. And an extreme amount of cigarette butts. So I have been picking up butts, loads and loads of butts. I am really impressed because there are several trash cans on the beach, every 15 m or so, and yet people throw the butts everywhere. Finding trash in nature used to make me sad, right now I am done with sadness. I take action. Probably there are way more things to do, but we should start and any start is better than no start at all. If you feel the same, do something about it! It could be picking up something, keeping your own trash, educating new generations, chatting with peers… If someone asks me why I do it I would answer that nothing can come of nothing.

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