Plastic Pollution
February 08 2012

Do you need a bulldozer to cleanup your beach?

by Bill Hickman

I sure hope not.  I have seen photos of large equipment scooping litter out of Ballona Creek in LA, insane plastic pollution in the Tijuana River Valley near the Mexican border at the Pacific Ocean and large beach raking machines are common in many tourist areas but these photos from Lebanon were still eye opening.  As we do our best to stop the flow of plastic pollution entering the oceans domestically, many foreign countries struggle with waste disposal and basic recycling.  While it's tempting to branch out everywhere we see plastic pollution, a good first step is to stop plastic pollution at home.  Remember the four R's of plastic: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle along with supporting plastic source reductions such as bag bans, expanded polystyrene foam bans and bottle bills.

Alex L. shot these photos and here's some background info: "I was fortunate to travel to Syria and Lebanon about a year ago before the chaos ensued and while in Lebanon I went to a place called Sidon. In Sidon there is the ruins of a castle built by the crusaders in 1228 on a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. I was very excited to see this, I mean a castle in the sea?!? What a magical idea! But the pictures illustrate what we found. The guide told us that this is a sad yet often occurrence that no one does much about because it happens every time there is a storm or strong wind that brings all of the trash from a dump near by and they can't keep up with clearing it out. Being from Vancouver I have never seen this level of trash on a beach before. My mom and I started to pick some up but then realized that at the time there wasn't much we could do. I'm not a brilliant photographer or anything but I felt the need to share this with someone and I felt you guys were the best ones to share it with."

Thanks Alex, photos like these can help raise awareness of the issue and document some of the problems.