Plastic pollution: Do beach clean-ups really make a difference?
Picking up trash from river beds and beaches has become a popular activity around the world. But do clean-ups really help tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution? DW’s Brigitte Osterath reports from Honduras.
It could be paradise. On the Honduran island of Roatan in the Caribbean, sandy beaches lined with palm trees stretch as far as the eye can see.
But the view is ruined by mounds of trash: Plastic bags and single-use water bottles, old clothes, unloved toys and even plastic chairs.
Marine biologist Laura Leiva of the Alfred Wegener Institute grew up here in Honduras and has witnessed the rising tide of plastic pollution first-hand.
“The last 10 years have seen more plastic [wash up] on the shores here,” she told DW. “The only clean places are the tourist resorts because people actively clean them,” she says. “Around them, [the beaches are] full of trash. It’s so sad.”
The trash originates from Roatan itself, neighboring islands and the Central American mainland.
The highly polluted Motagua River, which forms part of Honduras’ border with Guatemala, serves as a dumpsite for many communities. Every time it rains, torrents of trash are washed from the river into the ocean.
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