I love the ocean, and spent last week at the Silver Bank off the coast of the Dominican Republic, observing and learning about humpback whales.
I flew into the city of Puerto Plata, and from there boarded a live-aboard dive boat where I stayed for seven days, nine hours from land. Before I got on board, though, I spent half an hour walking the beach near the marina.
I hated what I found.
Besides bucket loads of smooth green, blue and white sea glass, I found old flip flops, pieces of brittle, broken plastic, more plastic bags and bottles than I could count, and, oddly, a collection of plastic dolls and doll parts.
Not that the Dominican Republic doesn’t have beautiful beaches – it does. Cofresi Beach, a curved stretch of cream-colored sand, palms and almond trees, just on the other side of the marina, looked pretty tidy. Crews obviously gather trash there.
But nobody seems to care about stretches of beach the public doesn’t see.
It reminded me why it’s important to skip single-use plastics whenever I can. So much of our discarded stuff ends up in the ocean, where marine life eats it or gets entangled in it or it washes up on shore.
It’s not just straws – don’t buy stuff you don’t really need. Bring your reusable bags to the grocery store, regardless of the law. Think before you ask the clerk to put all your purchases in a plastic bag.
Even better, Take Three for the Sea – pick up three pieces of trash (or more!) every time you go to the beach.
Let’s make a difference.