A heart-felt present for Christmas Island
CHRISTMAS Island has a pretty andpristine environment, and many endemic species. But trash is still a problem even for an island whose population only just tops 2,000. Enough washes up on its beaches to prevent sea turtles from nesting properly. Dive-shop owners Hama and Lin, who run Wet ‘n’ Dry Adventures, are “Giving Back” through their Island Care Christmas Island initiative that attempts to address the problem. It has launched several projects around the island, in particular targeting the plastic pollution. That involves regular beach cleanups with local high-school children. Hama and Lin have also come up with the simple but sensible idea of stationing trash bags at the start of the island’s many hiking trails. Motivated members of the public can pick one up and “Give Back” by cleaning up along the way of their walk, or embarking on an impromptu beach cleanup themselves. “Tourists and locals alike enjoy keeping Christmas Island looking beautiful,” they say. “So if someone provides them with an empty bag at the start of a walk, and takes care of the full one at the end, they’re more than happy to collect any unsightly rubbish as they go.” Quite how so much plastic washes up on Christmas Island’s shores shows how pervasive the problem is, as the human race apparently attempts to drown itself in its own waste. It’s not like the Australian territory has a lot of neighbours. It is in fact much closer to Indonesia, if you can call 360km close, while the former volcano is a full 2,600km from Perth and the Aussie west coast. Island Care also runs workshops on topics such as “Seabirds, Microplastics and Ocean Debris Monitoring.” These stress both the threats facing an island community as well as addressing the impact of single-use plastics.