Several tonnes of rubbish collected by volunteers on the Galapagos Islands


Several tonnes of rubbish have been collected by volunteers, park rangers and fishermen who worked for a month to clean up the Galapagos Islands National Park.

It is home to many rare and fantastic species and if the plastic is not removed, it runs the risk of being ground down and broken up and eventually being eaten by animals, often leading to a painful death.

The group of 18 people worked for a month in the volcanic archipelago that was made famous by Charles Darwin in particular worked in the islands of Genovesa, Pinta and Santiago, in Ecuador and collected in one week alone 2,1 tons of garbage. 

This was the second phase of the cleaning process done by the authorities. 

The first one took place in February and collected 2.5 tonnes of rubbish. The next expedition will take place in April.

In the second phase, that consisted in a week travelling around those areas, the workers checked around 22 kilometres of coast where the team collected, classified and registered the garbage.

The information gathered during those trips will be added to the database of the program of Coastal Cleaning and Marine Garbage management of the direction of the National Park of Galapagos.

Galo Quezada, park ranger in charge of this activity, said: ‘In order to select the intervention places we were based on the historic information we have, the evidence for the last years allows us to know the place with more impact of oceanic garbage.’

After the week of work, the garbage was taken to the island of Santa Cruz, collected in 277 bags, including 18,177 plastic bottles from different places. 

The garbage will be sent to the autonomous government of Santa Cruz in order to be managed.

The cleaning program always has three trips in the year. The first one took place in February when 2,5 tons of garbage was collected. 

The waste material thrown to the sea all around the world is the reason for the rubbish turning up on the Galapagos Islands it is eventually turned into microplastic, one of the biggest threats for iguanas, tortoises, birds and fish that are endemic from the island that was used by the British scientists Charles Darwin for his theory of species evolution.

The garbage reportedly arrived on the island thanks to the marine currents. 

The solar radiation and the salt of the sea degradates the bottles and other plastics that when crashing to the stones of the coast, they are turned into microplastic that are later eaten by the animals living there.

Marcelo Mata, Minister of Environment and Water of Ecuador, who participated in the Talk of High Level towards a new Global Agreement about Marine Garbage and Plastic Pollution organized by the Program of United Nations for the Environment, said that ‘Ecuador has a strong position against the marine garbage as it is one of the more urgent environmental problems in the last years, not only nationally but also internationality’.