Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

Every Day Should be Environment Day


Today is World Environment Day. To my mind every day should be, respecting our environment and leaving it in tact for future generations isn’t something to do today, forget about tomorrow, and do a bit more next week. It’s a way of life. That said, of course, I’m being both picky and prickly there. We need a day to raise awareness, because so many folk, still, don’t get it. So here’s my rant.

I live by the ocean. I’ve lived by the ocean most of my life, both in England and on this island of Tenerife, so perhaps that’s why the state of our seas preoccupy me more than other things. We all have our “pet” interests and causes.

I write a lot about this island and about the town in which I’m living, because I love both of them to death. Things that I don’t often write about:

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Dog crap and discarded booze litter the sidewalksof El Médano. Much of this you won’t see in an amble around the town because we have a great bunch of guys who clean up after those citizens and visitors who seem incapable of doing it for themselves, and by the time most folk are out of bed, it’s been cleared up, but they can’t do it all, despite they’re at it, basically, all day. I see it because I’m out dog walking early. Whilst I would LOVE to be able to walk Trix on the beach and throw her toys for her, as we once did, I totally understand the current ban of dogs on the beaches. If it’s the only way to ensure they’re kept clean and safe, then so be it.

Note: putting the dog poo in a bag and leaving it on a wall, or “hiding” it under a stone is NOT disposing of it in a responsible way! To the folk who left the ballons and cloth in the picnic area, well perhaps this was genuine ignorance and you didn’t realize how much harm plastic can do when it’s ingested by wildlife?

Oh and to the stupid person who did this:


Er – this was an attempt by the local authority to explain to folk WHY they need to keep their dogs on a lead (not to endanger nesting and migratory birds) and you defacing it so that no-one read it? NOT HELPING! Oh and if you’re going to write for the public to read LEARN TO SPELL!

And  ignorance isn’t confined to the general public. The plastic container washed up on the beach came from rubbish dumped in the ocean by passing boats. Almost impossible to say where, when or how, because the quantity of garbage this day on the beach was heart-breaking. The plastic sheeting which is caught on the prickly shrub almost certainly came from the local plantations, which use an incredible amount of plastic in farming  here. Both these sectors need to be controlled, but to be honest I haven’t a clue how it could be done. The problem is so vast. That plastic sheeting is particularly awful. It blows out to sea, and is mistaken as food by fish, turtles and birds, but once eaten remains in their stomach so that they feel full and eventually die from starvation because they don’t feel hungry……unlike greedy humans they only eat when they need food. The net is from a large, commercial trawler, lost or dumped at sea. A turtle was found, entangled in it, and would probably have died had it not been rescued – more of that very soon.

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You can see what’s going on in these last photos, can’t you. Discarded ice cream tubs and plastic cups being investigated by gulls on the early morning beach in Las Galletas a few weeks back. Not just dangerous to wildlife, but, er, pretty unsightly for the folk who come down to the beach the next morning.

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The thing about ALL of this is that it’s so easy to remedy. When you go to the beach take a bag and keep all your rubbish to dispose of at the end of the day.

Clean up after your dog and put it in a bin…..if you’re so “delicate” you can’t do that, and walk a few yards to a container, then YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE A DOG!

The drinking in the street problem, I know, has ramifications beyond the dumping of rubbish (including the contents of several stomaches often) on our streets. Perhaps stricter laws are needed to control this. Certainly it’s a problem largely confined to the younger elements of the population (we oldies prefer to get drunk in comfort and not in the street!), so it seems that education is also needed.

I don’t mean to single out El Médano or Tenerife in particular. I know that this is a worldwide problem. This happens to be the abuse of the natural world which I see on a day to day basis, so it seems appropriate to write it today. It seems to me it isn’t just the environment we harm but that it’s also an insult to our fellow citizens, who have every right to expect to live in a decently clean society. We all too often criticize less fortunate countries for not understanding these things, but fail to do the simple things ourselves.

In truth, El Médano does very well in this regard. We have recycling facilities on almost every street corner, right by the rubbish dumpsters, so there is no excuse not to recycle. Our street cleaners do an amazing job. Our lifeguards look out not only for humans with problems, but also for the environment we share – they are especially a shining example to the rest of the community….we really need to take notice and emulate them. More soon on that too.

In the meantime – yes, EVERY day should be ENVIRONMENT DAY!


Author: IslandMomma

Aging with passion; travelling with curiosity; exploring islandlife, and trying to keep fit and healthy.

5 thoughts on “Every Day Should be Environment Day

  1. Hello Island Momma! Lets connect, I am in the Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa Prefecture JAPAN, raised in La Laguna Tenerife. I remember El Medano well as my family we camped out there a few times. Got stuck in the sand..;-) On Saturday we start our 21st Annual I Love Okinawa Campaign. Please connect with the cleanups in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Aguita con el Plastico. Face book it and you will see.

    I have family in Tenerife and El Hierro. I welcome you to send me a note. I appreciate your blog very much. Gracias.

    • Hi, Eduardo! I will check out those pages, for sure. Planning to travel to the other islands next year, so everything connected with the Canary Islands and the environment is interesting to me. How interesting that you were raised here, but live in Japan! People still camp sometimes on the beach here, under the junipers, but it’s not really allowed any more 😦 The beaches are to be preserved for tourists. It’s a shame the custom of camping out in the summer on the beach is being eroded. I have friends who remember doing it every summer, just moving thier whole life down to the beach, when they were kids. I’m so glad you enjoyed my blog. Thank you very much for reading and for commenting.

  2. Totally agree with you. Litter is a pet peeve of mine. Being I Can Not believe anyone likes to see it, why is it there. More education is needed around the world to treat the environment with respect. Very nice post, keep spreading the word.

  3. Big here here from me. If we can teach our kids not to litter great. if we can teach them re cycling, which most schools in the U.K. do then maybe they’ll grow up to re cycle as adults. My mother is always saying, when she sees people cleaning up the litter that it is disgusting and a waste of money to have to pay people to pick up other peoples rubbish and she’s right.
    I have an abiding memory of a female eider with her ‘raft’ of eider chicks bobbing on a very choppy North sea off Northumbria. she was wearing a necklace tight round her neck and body, consisting of a plastic four pack holder .the thing that just goes round the top of four cans of beer or pop and is very strong. sadly she could not be helped, a wild bird on a wild sea. BUT she taught me a lesson your readers can follow as I now do. always cut these damned things up so they aren’t animal traps anymore.

    • ABSOLUTELY! That way, even if our plastic does find its way into the earth or the ocean, at least animals don’t suffer this way. There is a dreadful picture somewhere on the internet of a turtle who had one stuck around its middle when it was young, and whose shell then grew into a kind of figure 8 looking shape. There are countless examples and pictures on the internet now, getting them seen by those who need to understand is I think the hard part. Largely we preach to the already converted. I’m sure that at least 50% of the folk who have bad environmental habits have them out of pure, literal ignorance. They simply don’t know.

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