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A Tale of Two Beaches

2010 November 18

By Lina Younes

The images of my summer vacation are still vivid in my mind, but not for the reasons you may think. During the first part of my vacation, my family and I had the opportunity to go to a beach resort with pristine waters and powdery white sands. The ambiance was like heaven on earth. It was the perfect setting to get away from it all. I wish to capture that moment in time forever.

The second part of the vacation was dedicated to family activities and friends. During the course of the vacation, we often went to pastry shop right on the coastal road. We noticed that the pastry and ice cream shop was connected to an outdoor restaurant. So one evening, we decided to have a relaxing family dinner at sunset enjoying the ocean breeze. Boy, were we in for quite a surprise! From the road, you could observe the turquoise waters. But when we actually sat down for dinner by that beach, it looked like a wasteland!!! Mounds of plastic bottles and trash strewed across the beach. There were even black patches of burnt sand where people had burned garbage in the past. The waves kept taking the debris out to sea and back who knows how many times. The saddest part was that people didn’t seem to mind. They didn’t care! I was in a foreign country beyond EPA’s reach. Who could I report the incident to?

While enforcement of environmental laws and regulations is key, we all have to do our part to minimize waste and recycle whenever possible. So when packing for the beach or any outdoor activity, dispose of your waste properly to make this Planet Earth a better place for us all.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    November 18, 2010

    Population Growth uncontrollable.
    When I was a student I had a member of “Zero Growth” which one of NGO’s in my country. At once moment, I predicted two biggest problems in the future : Environmental and Asian’s Regional Conflicts. Lina, your post to indicate environmental problem who “much” people do not care about their worked. Look in my place, tools and plastics part of merchandises from China be sale cheaper than the others. I don’t know, if, China conflicting with it’s neighbor countries next….

  2. Alexander permalink
    November 19, 2010

    Dear Lina !
    Plastic battles and trash it’s not the worst that we can see. When beach, earth, pristine water get in hand of rotters it is the real misfortune. I have opportunity to go to the Black Sea. Here, on the west seacoast of peninsula Crimea, the local authorities fill up by debris the lakes with fresh water, because they need dry land for building and selling. There is the environmental prosecuting magistracy in Crimea, but it says that all is correct. All in all the bad guys are stronger then good ones. I don’t hear about good ones here though. It’s clear that fauna and flora disappear too.

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    November 19, 2010

    Alexander,
    Plastic bottles and trash are not the sole cause of pollution. When environmental laws are not enforced by authorities, there is no doubt that the general population will feel that the bad guys are stronger than the good ones. As you indicate, if we don’t do something about it, fauna and flora will disappear. We only have one Planet Earth. We have to protect it. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Nick permalink
    November 29, 2010

    I had that same experience in Hawaii one year and of course being on vacation one is suppose to relax and enjoy the scenery, but not me. My wife is still shaking her head, when I decided to grab a garbage bag and began picking up the trash that had washed up. As I walked along the beach in front of several restuarants and hotels, I turned around and noticed both vacationers and employees of the business’s with similar bags following me in my quest to clean up the beach.
    Later that day, my wife and I sat down at one of the restaurants for an early dinner and the manager came up to us and shook my hand and Thanked me for doing what I had done earlier that day by buying our dinner and drinks.
    Sometimes one has to set examples and open peoples eye’s to somethings that may not be so important to them.
    Next time you take a walk on any beach, grab a bag and do your part. Every little bit helps and it makes you feel good.

  5. Lina-EPA permalink*
    November 30, 2010

    Nick,
    Kudos for you and your wife! We all should do our part. And you are right–every little bit helps!
    Lina

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