Beach pollution on the Galapagos Islands has serious implications for the wildlife and local economy. Garbage on the beach can have a negative impact on fishing and tourism. It is therefore important to keep beaches and seas clean to protect the biodiversity of the area and to ensure the well-being and economic prosperity of the local people.
Galapagos Conservancy understands the need to address this issue and in 2022 supported a project of the Galapagos National Park Directorate. This project aimed to increase awareness of the negative effects of wastes on the ecosystems of the coast and ocean, the human health and local economies. On visits to El Garrapatero and Puerto Chino beaches, Punta Carola and La Loberia, 65 students collected 575 pounds of plastic waste and examined the distribution and presence of microplastics.
These microplastics, which are smaller than 5 millimeters in size, accumulate on beaches and oceans. Microplastics are formed by the degradation of large objects such as bags, bottles and fishing nets. These materials, despite their small size, take a very long time to break down and will never disappear in nature. They can be consumed by marine fauna, which could have serious effects on their health.
Washington Tapia is the General Director of Galapagos Conservancy. He stressed the importance of engaging young people in the fight to reduce pollution in Galapagos eco-systems. Tapia stated that the young people of Galapagos are the future and present leaders. By participating in beach clean-ups and learning proper waste management techniques, they will be able to acquire the knowledge and skill necessary to make responsible and sustainable choices in the future.
Galapagos Conservancy is happy to celebrate the success of the GNPD in implementing this project and proudly supports conservation initiatives that include Galapagos Students. We can protect the environment by taking responsibility for our actions and protecting it.