Friday 26 January 2018

Reflections on the Plastic Epidemic - Preparing for BB2018 - Peru

Birds, birds, birds!

Those first days of the Biking Birder Adventure 2018 - Peru (BB2018-Peru) will be filled with bird spectacle. Tens of thousands of gulls and cormorants will fill the skies at Los Pantanos de Villa, near to Lima and with the birds t be seen around Miraflores and San Isidro, the Green Birding list will be at around 100 by the time the laden bike heads east.

With plastic cleared from the beach after a session with hopefully some of the wonderful Los de Pantanos reserve volunteers and staff, a relaxing seawatch might bring 'extra to expected' birds such as Petrels and Shearwaters.


Five years ago I went on holiday to Luxor, Egypt and was both amazed and disgusted at the quantity of plastic amassed along the banks of the Nile.

Watching a sun setting over the immense river was so beautiful but what was less enamouring was the large hotel ships just tipping all rubbish from bin liners into the waters, leaving a trail of plastic to float towards the sea.

Plastic on the exposed muddy banks was everywhere as friendly children stood waving surrounded by  . . . plastic.

Out in the Sahara to the east of Luxor, what rubbish that was collected was being burnt along a roadside; hundreds of yards of burning plastic with too many pieces blowing away in the wind as the stench and smoke choked the skies.

Biking Birder adventures have allowed me to see how all pervasive plastic is, nowhere more so than on the beaches of all Scottish Islands.

All was epitomised by a plastic bottle found during a beach-cleaning session. Seven years in the sea, a bottle from an earthquake of 2010 that killed tens of thousands of people in Haiti. That bottle, having floated across the Atlantic, was in my hands and in the skip; it's journey to finish in an incinerator on Shetland.

Above it is plastic on the shoreline of North Ronaldsay, Orkney, UK last year.

It is literally on every beach, in every stream, every river, lake, pool.

I don;t want to talk about is anymore. It is too upsetting. Back to the birds . . . tomorrow.

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