At the beginning of a new year it’s a good time to reflect on what we can personally do to preserve our surroundings.Whether you are a resident or visitor to the Riviera Maya there are little things we can all do to harmonize the balance between humans and nature. Before the 1980s Playa del Carmen was a small fishing village, unknown to the millions of tourists who have since discovered this paradise. Now there are approximately 230,000 residents (Coespo) living in the area. The stunning coastline and fertile jungles have attracted people from across the globe and everyone can do something simple to help them continue to thrive.
- Don’t drop your cigarette butts on the beach (or anywhere else except an appropriate disposal container) – one cigarette butt can contaminate up to 60 liters of water. In some cases fish mistake them for food and die after eating them.
- If you’re eating food outdoors remember that it’s just for you. Don’t share it with the local wildlife, it disrupts their natural diet and can cause illness.
- Pick up your trash – marine life from seabirds to turtles can easily mistake our rubbish for food, ingesting it with lethal consequences.
- Plant perennials instead of just grass to attract birds, butterflies and provide food for bees.
- Plant a tree. Amazingly, one tree can soak up as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and produce enough oxygen to sustain two of us for life.
- If you see an animal in distress don’t assume someone else will take care of it. Be that someone.
- Choose ecological and biodegradable sunscreen protection. One of the most commonly found chemicals in sunscreen is oxybenzone which has been scientifically proven to damage coral reefs and is toxic to algae, sea urchins, fish and small mammals.
- Volunteer for a beach clean. Local company Kay Tours runs one on the first Sunday of every month and all are welcome. The next one is February 4th (check their Facebook page for details nearer the time). You can also join the annual Ocean Cleanup event which in September 2017 attracted 5,000 volunteers along this coastline.