A Tale of Two Beaches

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.

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