It is rainy season in this part of Mexico. Baby iguanas jump from plant to tree and mariposas (butterflies) fly in flocks across the waves and congregate in the dirt roads partaking of the mineral rich water in the mud puddles. Some are the size of floppy yellow salad plates. How do they get off the ground? Grass is three feet tall and the hibiscus, the iguana’s favorite food, bloom on the road sides like wildflowers. Yes, there is mud everywhere and it is humid as heck with mosquitoes ruling the night but what is the most disconcerting is the plague of plastic bottles that come rushing down the river after a strong rain in the mountains. During the dry season, the river is dry and the ravine becomes the local dump. Every little village has to put their trash somewhere. When the rains start the river dumps into the ocean taking with it a wall of plastic that can build up along the shore among the dropped coconuts and driftwood. The red soil is very evident in the waves close to shore and many surfers do not surf when the river dumps into the ocean. Eye and ear infection reports become the topic of conversation in the local seaside eateries. Everyone knows that is just how it is.
It doesn’t have to be but this kind of problem is everywhere in the world. Education is part of the solution, with monetary incentives and follow-up that encourages people to continue. Recycling programs get started but then pick up is not dependable and people get tired of separating trash if no one will pick it up. My local recycler says there is no one who will pick up glass anymore, there is no money in it.