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Visiting a Plastic Paradise

Posted By Beth Terry On August 18, 2009 @ 5:21 pm In Litter,Ocean Plastic Pollution,travel and transportation | 21 Comments

I’m here in Waikiki with my family. The purpose of the trip: helping my parents. The reality of the first few days: recreation. Much needed. Walking on the beach. Climbing Diamond Head. Playing games and eating ice cream. But one thing I notice everywhere I turn: plastic. Plastic bottles and plastic trash lying on the ground. But also tiny plastic pieces that have washed up on the beach. Here are a few photos. Beautiful vistas that become heartbreaking on closer inspection. (Click on any photo to see larger.)

Diamond Head [1] — from a distance…

2009 Summer 034 [2]

Up close…

2009 Summer 031 [3]

From a distance…

2009 Summer 564 [4]

Up close…

2009 Summer 038 [5]

From a distance…

2009 Summer 045 [6]

Up close…

2009 Summer 044 [7]

Bellows Beach Park [8] — from a distance…

2009 Summer 072 [9]

Up close, the sand is infused with tiny pieces of plastic that wash up all down the beach.

2009 Summer 070 [10]

2009 Summer 074 [11]

2009 Summer 069 [12]

Last night, we had dinner at the food court in the International Market Place [13]. All the vendors serve food on Styrofoam plates. I circled the food court several times before spying a stack of uncoated cardboard plates at the Korean food vendor’s booth. Asking to have my salad on one of those plates, I was told that kind is more expensive and only used for the short ribs. So I offered to pay extra for it. After explaining to the cashier that I don’t like to use Styrofoam, she sighed and told me I wasn’t the first person to say that. Great. The more the better.

How many of us are willing to speak up and explain to shop clerks why we don’t need a plastic bag or container or bottle? How many of us are willing to add our voices to the chorus of people advocating change? It only takes a second. Speaking up sometimes feels difficult or embarrassing, but isn’t the alternative worse?

As for all the plastic waste polluting our wild places, what’s the solution? It’s hard to pinpoint the source of the plastic pollution on the beach. Those particles have been out in the ocean for a long time. But the plastic bags, wrappers, and bottles littering Diamond Head? Those didn’t wash up from somewhere else. They were deposited by tired tourists unwilling to carry out their own trash.

It seems to me as an outsider that an anti-littering campaign is in order, including more conveniently located containers. There is a big one at the Diamond Head trailhead.

2009 Summer 062 [14]

But maybe recycling containers along the way, or better yet encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable bottles would help. How about an official Diamond Head stainless steel souvenir bottle? My sister and I brought ours!

2009 Summer 052a [15]

Any Hawaiian readers want to add your thoughts?
 


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URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/08/visiting-plastic-paradise/

URLs in this post:

[1] Diamond Head: http://www.hawaiiweb.com/html/diamond_head.html

[2] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3831085204/

[3] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3830286735/

[4] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3834678469/

[5] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3830293649/

[6] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3831097484/

[7] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3830299259/

[8] Bellows Beach Park: http://www.hawaiiweb.com/oahu/beaches/bellows_beach_park.htm

[9] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3830328615/

[10] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3831123350/

[11] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3830333503/

[12] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3831120692/

[13] International Market Place: http://www.internationalmarketplacewaikiki.com/

[14] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3831110962/

[15] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3834811229/

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