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Beach cleaning - collect garbage

Collect garbage? Really? Why not? You travel to the most beautiful places in the world - whether by plane to Asia, by car to the mountains, or like me with the camper through Europe - to discover new places. And what do you encounter? Again and again?

Collect garbage - plastic waste

You see plastic bottles, fishing nets, aluminum cans, etc. on the most beautiful beaches, often washed up from the sea. Some of it was simply thrown carelessly into the sea by ship crews, others came into the sea via the rivers.

Not only does it not look pretty, it poisons the environment, injures and kills animals that either eat the trash or get caught in it and die.

The plastic waste breaks down into microplastics and is absorbed by marine animals, eventually ending up back on our plates and in our bodies through the food chain.

Micro plastic

I don't know how you feel about it, but I don't want that: to ingest microplastics. That's why I make an active contribution and collect trash.

I myself try to eat and cook as naturally as possible, i.e. not to eat processed foods - which are no longer FOOD - and convenience foods. But to eat fresh, to cook with fresh natural and unprocessed ingredients, it just makes no sense for me to eat microplastics. That's why I no longer buy sea salt, but Himalayan salt, for example, to avoid microplastics in my food. And I have also very limited my fish consumption, even though I love fish and seafood.

This is because so-called predatory fish, which tend to be at the end of the food chain, have accumulated quite a bit of microplastics in addition to heavy metals: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, perch, etc.

I had done several interviews with the founder of The Gravity Wave, Amaia Rodriguez. They have thousands of fishermen around the Mediterranean under contract to fish out the plastic that is in the depths. That's also where over 70% of the plastic is, far more than on the visible ocean surface - that's just the tip of the iceberg.

or the most part, these are fishing nets that are simply left behind, especially by the large fishing boats, the professional fishing industry. And until now, these nets were difficult to recycle. Now they are sorted, shredded and recycled in the ports. Contractors then use them to produce more sustainable products from the plastic, such as furniture, which do not immediately end up in the trash again, like plastic bags, for example.

And she told me that since she has been dealing with the issue of plastic waste in the oceans and its impact and sees how much microplastic has accumulated in marine life, she no longer eats fish. She would rather eat meat for health reasons that is not from mass production.

And we're always being told to eat more fish because it's so healthy. Unfortunately not.

At least for saltwater fish. Freshwater fish from streams and lakes are better off.

Avoid, upcycle and recycle plastic

Collecting trash is one way. Avoiding it is even better. I think for these reasons you should just be more mindful. Buy less things packed in plastic, like food. Sure, plastic is a cheap and practical material to wrap things in, for example. But if you don't recycle plastic, but just throw it away carelessly, then it makes the problems described above for the environment, wildlife and us humans.

Therefore, avoid plastic whenever possible. And if it can't be avoided, please dispose of it properly, and don't throw it away carelessly.

Avoidance is one side of the coin, the other is when you are traveling, or walking, hiking in your area, or traveling with your RV like I do, that you not only don't throw trash away, but also simply collect trash you come across on your trails - even if it's not your own - and dispose of it at the nearest dumpster.

I have always done that. Even in Mallorca, which was my home base for a long time, I have always taken a garbage bag with my partner on "my house beach" when we were out with the dog and we collected garbage during the dogwalk on the beach. Sometimes alone, sometimes we motivated friends who were visiting us to join us or we called on social media for beach cleaning.

Or on my travels like in Bali or other countries. I have also participated in beach cleanings organized by others. Or like here in Portugal in the Algarve itself again at the Dogwalk at Praia do Amado - a beautiful place with many surfers. Unfortunately I didn't see a single surfer picking up trash, but other campers very much did. Also on this beach where I am writing this blog, at Praia da Cordoama, a couple traveling by motorhome collected trash on the beach. 

I find that totally nice when I see other people who also collect garbage and I had also addressed them and told them that I think that's great of you and I myself also always make beach cleanings. They were very happy about my recognition.

Collect waste

That is, when I take the dog for a walk, I take a larger garbage bag with me and collect what I find: plastic bottles, caps, parts of fishing nets, Styrofoam, aluminum cans, etc. Not only larger parts, but also small ones, such as bottle caps and the small plastic rings from the bottles, which are very dangerous for many animals if they get stuck in them. Not only larger parts, but also small ones, like bottle caps and the small plastic rings from the bottles, which are very dangerous for many animals if they get stuck in them.

You always go for a walk anyway, with or without a dog, with family, with friends.

Why not just take a few trash bags with you, possibly also gloves and those handy grabbers so you don't always have to bend over. Where there's a will, there's a way.

And then you motivate your family and friends to join in. You can make both meaningful and nice events out of it or even competitions - especially for children - whoever collects the most gets a prize. Or you can make a picnic afterwards (and of course take your own garbage back with you), or go for a drink etc.. I think everyone has their own ideas. 

But you can also join others who organize such events. Had I participated a few weeks ago in Spain. We were over 30 people who had freed a torrent and the beach from garbage: over 70 large garbage bags full. Afterwards, the owner of the adjacent campsite invited us to snacks and drinks, because he finds the initiative great and his guests of course also benefit from it - and ultimately his business - if the environment is not littered. So everybody has something from it.

Just do something good. Is not much effort. Of course, you can think what I'm doing on my own. But in the end, it's about everyone making a small contribution and motivating others to do the same by setting an example - without pointing fingers.

Yesterday I also collected almost 10 kg of trash on the beach in less than an hour and brought it to the nearest container. Just a good workout and a good feeling.

Be a role model for others

I can only motivate everyone to collect trash, no matter where you are. And please motivate others to do the same. Especially children, environmental education is important, but do not talk about it, but demonstrate and do together. There are enough people who only talk and scold others. There are enough so called greens who endlessly discuss about the environment and blame everyone else for it, like the industry or the government. 

Thinking AND acting on one's own responsibility is required. Only discussing and preaching does not make this planet better.