Today we all went to the island of Motukitiu on Aitutaki. This island was previously a pit stop for planes traveling the Pacific in 1950 to 1962. During this time planes could not travel far distances, so Tasmanian Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) built up this island for wealthy travelers to visit. This island has one side facing the lagoon and the other side facing the open ocean.
The team conducted a beach cleanup on the island starting on the lagoon side and then we made our way to the other side. In pairs, we took off with giant trash bags. Laura and I started following other groups down the beach and thought we would never fill up the bag or even have trash to pick up. The lagoon side of the island had no trash. I even had the thought that this beach is the cleanest beach I’ve ever been to. This thought quickly changed as we made our way across the island through the “jungle.” Slowly, trash started appearing until we made it to the other side of the island where there were large quantities of marine debris. There were tons of plastic bottles, flip-flops, and multiple pieces of rope, even a pair of eyeglasses. The trash bag became full fast. Then, we saw a 98-pound rope we began to dig up from the bushes. We then tugged and pulled until it was free and dragged the rope all the way to the path that led to the other side of the island and got help. Sean and John continued carrying the rope to the other side of the island where we met up with the rest of the group who made it all the way around the island. We then filled the boat with trash bags and ventured back to our camp where we sorted and weighed all the marine debris.
This beautiful, remote island was accumulating massive amounts of trash. This really had an impact on me because this is just one small island and there are so many larger coastlines around the world that are being affected by the same problem of marine debris taking over the beaches. This is a problem that is growing with the world population as humans resume to use non-reusable goods. This problem could easily be remedied if others begin to recognize the impact of non-reusable goods and made changes in their buying and consumption habits.