One and one-half tons. That’s how much trash 105 hard-working beach lovers gathered in the Fifth Annual Beach Cleanup last month. For four Sundays they joined Cabo Expeditions in an all-out effort to clean not only the sandy beach but the seabed under the waves.
The lucky beach was Playa Empacadora. That’s one of the most popular gathering places in Los Cabos, Mexico. Small boats depart from here for tours of Land’s End, Lovers Beach, Medano Beach, and Cascades Beach.
In May 2009, Oscar Ortiz just wanted to take a picture….but ended up spearheading a community-wide preservation event. The owner of Cabo Expeditions had heard about an exotic nudibranch found near the Sea Trek platform. With his brother Miguel, he strapped on his gear and camera and plunged in. To his horror, instead of a graceful, colorful sea slug, he found piles of trash.
The sight saddened Oscar so much that he asked four of his diver friends to help him clean up the area the following week. At the end of the day he realized they needed a lot of help. That’s how the first Beach and Underwater Cleanup campaign got started.
Much of it was debris from an old packing plant no longer in operation. The rest was clutter from hurricanes or everyday beach-goers— he even saw chairs!
In the five cleanups so far, 775 people have collected fifteen and one-half tons of trash! Underwater, most of it is beer cans and old tires. On shore they gather many cigarette butts. Generous sponsors have come forward with trash bags, gloves, rakes, water, advertising, even free parking—plus teams of high-energy litter-picker-uppers.
They should all be commended for donating their Sunday mornings for the love of Cabo’s exquisite beaches. These shores are 90% trash-free now. We hope that the example these volunteers set will have a ripple effect. By putting their conservation ethic into public action, they raise awareness of the need to care for a planet whose name should be Oceana.