Volunteers working with the non-governmental organization Ríos Limpios have removed seven tons of garbage, made up mostly of plastic, from coastal areas in Yucatán.
Among the refuse, volunteers found plastic items such as disposable plates, plastic bottles and flip-flops. But most of the garbage was made up of plastic bags.
It’s a sign that a growing amount of plastic waste is threatening Yucatán’s mangroves and beaches.
“Plastics have become a huge problem, approximately 70% of inspected fish species contain microplastics within them,” said Eduardo Negrete Cué, Ríos Limpios spokesperson.
The NGO has also taken part in projects to clean up Yucatan’s cenotes.
Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long that can be harmful to ocean and aquatic life.
The World Health Organization warns that microplastics are extremely prevalent in oceans, rivers and lakes across the world. They often also end up in drinking water. The effects of microplastics on the human body remain widely unknown.
Ríos Limpios is seeking volunteers for 26 garbage collection projects in 2021. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.