Residents in Playas del Coco, Ocotal, Panama and Cuajiniquil in the northwestern province of Guanacaste joined hundreds of thousands of people in more than 100 countries in a worldwide beach cleanup last month.
The event is organized annually by the Ocean Conservancy Organization to keep beaches clean and to document the trash that pollutes the world’s coastline.
According to The Ecological Blue Flag Committee of Ocotal Beach, 6 million pounds of trash were collected worldwide, and 1,315 pounds of trash were removed from just 3.7 miles of shoreline in Costa Rica during the 2007 cleanup. An estimated 16 percent of the beach trash in Costa Rica was related to smoking.
“In general, OcotalBeach has become a beach that fills up with visitors on the weekends and during holidays,” said Tanya Buxton, organizer of the Ocotal cleanup.
“Unfortunately, the people who come here tend to leave their trash behind. I think this is what you see generally in trash found on beaches throughout the region, trash from food, beverages and cigarettes brought by people enjoying a beach day.”
Buxton also organizes monthly cleanups at Playa Ocotal. “It’s not about having just one or two big cleanups each year,” she said. “It’s about spreading awareness to other people to take action everyday.”