I just came home from our holidays at the North Sea. The water was to cold for me to swim in (my husband and the children didn’t mind), but the beach was really nice – with sun, white sand and wind (and therefore no midges!), but not too hot. There was some waste – mostly lost by little children or caught by the wind, I think, and only some intentionally left at the beach (like beer cans or cigarette stumps). We collected that waste and many plastic bags and cords halfway buried in the sand and took them all to the garbage on our visits to the toilets (which were, due to the tides, at least 1 kilometer inland and right next to the nearest garbage bins).
But after the high tide, things changed. Tangled in seaweed, masses of paper towels came back from the Sea. Since they are chemically treated to resist water (I think) it didn’t feel right for me to wait for their decomposing and I collected entire snarls (my husband rather didn’t want to bother about paper, too). During stacking the snarls in my arms their underside became visible, mottled with beautiful light green algae, or so I thought. But it were gauzy pieces of plastic film which had been grown over with algae. There was plastic everywhere!
Feeling like Sisyphus, I walked up to 10 times to the garbage bins and back, later accompanied by my children and my husband, and another family. We got into a short conversation with them (as it’s turned out, they also used cloth diapers – coincidentally or not so coincidentally), and I was happy to not be the only “tree-hugger”. We didn’t manage to clean the whole beach, not even a section of it, and I felt guilty to stop and enjoy our holidays and our time together as a family, but later a pair of locals thanked us for caring.
I want to pass this thank on to you all, out there, who don’t capitulate in the face of this never-ending task and do something, even if it seems too little too late. Every little step counts!
Thank you, kindred spirits out there!