Shocking footage from a beach in Mexico has brought into sharp focus the threat facing our oceans from plastic waste.
it’s a disturbing sight, isn’t it?
As this video shows, some of the most pristine and beautiful beachfronts in the world are being inundated with plastic bottles and waste that is deposited by the sea.
In the clip, the narrator bemoans ‘the lack of consciousness’ from people that ‘fail to understand that this is the inheritance we are leaving our children’.
He adds: “Every time we do not place our plastic drinks containers in the recycling bin this is where it ends up.”
The footage was shot at Ciudad Hidalgo in the Mexican state of Chiapas, close to the country’s southern border with Guatemala. It is far from the average tourist route, but features the usually perfect beaches, lined with palm trees, that attract so many to Mexico’s Pacific coast. Now, it lies destroyed by plastic waste.
Scientists have warned about the dangers of plastic waste for a long time, with a concerted push in recent years to change legislation to make scenes like those in Cuidad Hidalgo a thing of the past.
“Plastics are the main contaminants in the oceans, while the beaches are full of cigarette butts, glass, and rubbish in general,” said Lidia Silvia Inaguez of the University of Colima’s Faculty of Marine Science.
While the residents of the area do contribute some plastic waste, the vast majority is washed up on shore by the sea. In general, plastic waste is generated by rich countries and then deposited on the shores of poor countries, including the likes of Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
The impact of the plastic waste problem is felt in tourism – fewer tourists want to go to beaches choked with rubbish – but also in industries that are vital to local communities, such as fishing.
It is thought that up to a third of supermarket plastics in the UK are not recyclable and thus destined to end up in landfill.
Countries such as China often take solid waste from the UK and process it, with other Asian nations such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Indonesia also taking plastic to landfill.
China recently announced that, as of January of next year, they will no longer accept solid waste from the United Kingdom or other foreign sources in an attempt to safeguard their environment.