TULUM, Mexico – September 16 marks a pivotal day, not just for Tulum but for the entire world – International Coastal Cleanup Day. It’s a solemn promise to restore the pristine beauty of our natural surroundings. This global initiative was born out of an urgent need to combat the escalating pollution plaguing the world’s beaches. The root causes of this environmental crisis can be traced back to population growth and unchecked capitalism, which have resulted in alarmingly high levels of pollution, especially in our oceans, comprising more than 70% of Earth’s surface. The inherent cyclical nature of water means that whatever we release into our oceans and water bodies will eventually return to us. Shockingly, for every mile of the ocean, there are approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic debris drifting aimlessly. Moreover, as plastic takes eons to decompose, minuscule plastic particles are now infiltrating our food and water. If we don’t reverse these trends, we’ll soon face catastrophic consequences for our environment.
The origins of International Coastal Cleanup Day date back more than three decades. Linda Maraniss and Kathy O’Hara, both affiliated with Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to crafting resolutions and policies at the federal and governmental levels, conceived the idea. In 1986, Maraniss, deeply inspired by O’Hara’s work and her upcoming paper on ocean plastic pollution, initiated a conversation. Their shared vision was to create a day that would draw attention to the mounting pollution crisis in our oceans. They presented their idea to various environmental groups and activists and swiftly garnered enough support to launch an official cleanup day. The concept was elegantly simple: head to a local beach armed with a garbage bag and commence the vital task of collecting litter to prevent it from being swept into the ocean by the relentless forces of water and wind.
However, the mission of International Coastal Cleanup Day extended beyond mere beach cleanup. A crucial objective was to document and analyze the types of trash recovered during these cleanup efforts. Comprehensive documentation involved studying the materials, tracing their possible sources, estimating their decomposition rates, and assessing their impact on the ocean and its inhabitants. Once these findings were meticulously documented, they were shared with governments, prompting them to take action. National and international lobbying efforts were initiated to prevent further damage. Industries were also brought under scrutiny, pushing for policies that would either halt the production of such items or prevent their disposal into our precious oceans. Since its inception, this day has witnessed the participation of over 6 million dedicated cleanup volunteers from more than 90 countries.
Let’s Make a Difference Together!
We extend a heartfelt invitation to all citizens and tourists of Tulum to join us on this special day. Let’s unite in our mission to keep our beaches free from waste and pollution. Grab your friends and family, bring a garbage bag, and be a part of the solution. Together, we can ensure that Tulum’s beaches remain a breathtaking natural treasure for generations to come.