On October 5th, in the spirit of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative, our team at Big Blue Collective embarked on a mission to preserve the pristine beauty of French Cay, a beautiful island offshore that is not only a paradise for our divers and snorkelers but is also home to a hundred seabirds. 

The global problem of oceanic pollution (particularly plastic waste) is a complicated issue that requires individuals, businesses, communities, and governments to work together to solve. In this article, we’ll explore the incredible efforts of our team as we took action to combat this pressing environmental issue in service of our community and the marine life of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Plastic Predicament

The world’s oceans are drowning in plastic pollution, and the consequences are dire. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade; it merely disintegrates into smaller particles. For seabirds that feed on the ocean’s surface, these plastic fragments often resemble prey, consequently causing them to mistake plastic waste for a food source. Unfortunately, this can then lead to malnutrition and even starvation. Moreover, scientific research has revealed that plastics, especially microplastics, are finding their way into our own food chain and posing potential risks to human health.

    

The Alarming Reality

Ocean garbage is no longer an isolated problem—it has become a global crisis. From plastic bottles and fishing nets to polystyrene, toothbrushes, lightbulbs, and even cigarette butts, our oceans are littered with human-made debris. Philip shared his firsthand perspective on this marine garbage problem:

‘Given that we spend most of our working lives on the ocean, our team gets to see just how vast this marine garbage problem really is,’ he remarked. ‘There isn’t a single island or cay that hasn’t been affected by man-made trash. While this may not be immediately obvious on beaches like Grace Bay, that has more to do with its geography than Provo being immune to coastal ocean garbage.’

He emphasized that the issue often goes unnoticed because many affected islands are out of sight and therefore sadly out of mind.

 

The Big Blue team after a long day of beach cleanup.

 

A Wake-Up Call at French Cay

French Cay has long been a beloved destination for us at Big Blue Collective and our guests, as it offers a unique sense of remoteness. With its significant seabird population, it became evident to the team that this was the ideal place to make a big difference. Thirteen of our dedicated team members embarked on two boats to tackle the pollution problem head-on.

After five hours of diligent work, we collected over 40 bags of garbage, including rubber tires, old fishing nets, and even a car bumper! Tina, a member of our team shared her experience:

‘Seeing this beautiful island for the first time with so much garbage on its beaches was upsetting. It felt amazing being a part of a solution rather than the problem.’

Our Collective Responsibility

Tina’s words resonate with the idea that it is our collective responsibility to protect our oceans and the stunning islands they embrace. As nature enthusiasts, travelers, and inhabitants of this planet, we know that it is essential that we play a role in preserving its beauty. Properly disposing of our garbage and reducing our plastic consumption are simple steps in the right direction.

Our team’s efforts serve as an inspiring example of how individuals and organizations can make a difference in the battle against ocean pollution. While the problem may seem overwhelming, every small action counts. By working together and raising awareness about the perils of plastic pollution, we can ensure that our oceans remain pristine for generations to come.