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Paradise defiled

Paradise defiled

Adrift: gas bottle from a boat on the beach

fabiano barretoAdrift: gas bottle from a boat on the beachfabiano barreto

Anyone walking on the beaches of the Dende Coast, south of Salvador, Bahia’s state capital, has every likelihood of coming across plastic bags and even the warning lights used on boats. A study, headed up by oceanographer, Isaac Santos, now at the Florida State University, analyzed the detritus found along some 150 km of these beaches that are isolated from urban areas; the study looks to outline the strategies for reducing pollution and the risks that it represents for both animals and people (Environmental Monitoring and Assessment). Fragments of plastic bags and other packaging, which is often swallowed by animals, accounted for almost half the rubbish found, followed by other types of plastic. The type of waste collected indicates that up to 80% of the amount which reaches the beaches is carried there by the rivers that bathe the coastal towns. This suggests that the best way of fighting the problem is not just by cleaning the beaches but also by raising awareness in people who live in towns and avoiding the pollution of rivers.