Pollution in the Amazon Rainforest and rivers, Brazil. Part Two.
A glimpse into one tiny nook of the UK’s vast ocean depths uncovered two drink cans, one bottle, and a rusty food tin http://gu.com/p/3e3xv/tw This, to me, horrifying discovery made me think further about pollution.
Despite my rainforest being a days canoe ride from a town and the forest being quite isolated, I still had to put up with pollution floating in with the river. It also came from the neighbouring properties many miles away and from supplies brought in from workmen on my lodge.
I had noticed that when locals finished with something; a torch battery, a piece of ragged clothing, an empty water bottle, bent nails, torn plastic bags etc, they just chucked them. They would throw them into the undergrowth. Out of sight, out of mind.
When the rivers rose in the wet season, the discarded rubbish floated up from the soil and ended up in uncontaminated rivers and streams and onto pristine river banks.
In the dry season tree branches could often be seen hung with gaudy coloured strips of plastic left by the receding waters.
With my poor Portugese I tried to explain to locals how batteries are poisonous to the rivers and therefore to the fish they ate daily. I also tried to explain about plastic pollution and its effect on wildlife and the environment. I insisted that nothing got thrown in my forest, but got put in bags to be disposed of properly.
And I spent a great deal of time walking around the shores of the river picking up litter that had floated ashore.
The contamination of the rivers by mining and industry is also a big problem in some areas. The use of chemicals causing permanent damage to the environment.
I walk around the streets of the sea-side town I live in, in the UK, and see the same careless throwing of rubbish onto the roads and pavements and bobbing on the sea surface.
And pollution from passing ships, as happened recently, when a discharge of engine oil killed and contaminated hundreds of birds, is a constant problem with the heavy maritime traffic that passes our coast.
Pollution is a world-wide problem. Each one of us has a part to play to reduce it. And every Government has a job to do to curb it and protect its people and the planet. It’s not for others to worry about, its for each and every one of us.
Those drink cans or that empty bottle could have been thrown by anyone of us and it reached the deepest area of ocean. We are turning this wonderful blue planet into a rubbish dump.
Note in the photos, below the Kingfisher a piece of a black plastic bag and along the bank of the river, in the foreground, two tin cans and a bottle.