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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
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How paradise can become wasteland


Joana Bores and Pedro Geraldes sent us this heart-rending story from Cape Verde

Today we want to talk about a place that could be paradise, but that plastics turned into a wasteland...

This is “Praia dos achados” (Finders-keepers Beach), on the Island of Santa Luzia, Cape Verde. The tides and the marine currents have turned this idyllic beach into a dump.


Last June, as part of the project "Desertas - sustainable management of the marine reserve of Santa Luzia", which is coordinated by SPEA, Cape Verde NGOs Biosfera and DNA organised beach-cleaning event here. Last week, as we walked back to camp, we were shocked at how much plastic had accumulated in less than 6 months. We decided to spend an hour walking on the beach and try to find plastic with labels, to see where all this garbage had come from. To our surprise, there were plastics from at least 25 different countries...
This beach is one of the most important nesting places for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta): the species made over 5000 nests here last year. During our walk, we found the dessicated corpses of two baby loggerhead sea turtles. Unable to reach the sea because the path was covered with plastic waste, they died of hunger, thirst and heat, trapped in a plastic canister right after they’d left their nest. These plastics, nets, ropes, bottles, canisters and a whole list of objects made from plastic are a deadly trap for wildlife.

Clearly, beach-cleaning is not enough. We have to stop plastic waste from ending up in the sea. Let’s turn this tide.



29 November 2018




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