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.

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