Xcalak, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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Spooky Garbage During the Days of the Dead, by Leisa Mukai

Spooky Garbage During the Days of the Dead, by Leisa Mukai

It’s a spooky time of year. Up north, Halloween just passed. Yesterday and today are the Days of the Dead here in Mexico. This season of the dead is spooky but not for the traditional reasons, which was well illustrated at the Halloween party at Playa Sonrisa, another Inn just a kilometer south of us. There was a strong beach garbage theme to costumes this year. I went as an Associate of Xcalak Payless Shoe Source, dressed in my full body rash guard, snorkel set and fins carrying a bag of shoes that I gathered from the beach trash. It look less than three minutes to gather those shoes. Then there was Garbage Bingo Man, Sargasso Princess, and other scary creatures.

Garbage dominated our imaginations because the heavy winds that are natural part of late October and November here have brought a lot of trash. With a full moon creating higher tides and the seasonal high winds we expect more flotsam but this has been spooky.

Today, Rob and I cleared 5 garbage bags of bottles, shoes, twisted Styrofoam, plastic forks, spoons, and bottles.

That was the gross layer of garbage.

Then we raked up the smaller garbage that was enmeshed with the sargasso and took that to our garbage pit, where we will let it dry before burning it. Usually we compost sea debris along the beach but we don’t want to bury this medium sized plastic and risk it going back out in a high tide.

What is left on our beach is finely broken pieces of plastic and Styrofoam. This material is deadly to birds and sea life and is extremely difficult to clean. It took the two of us 2.5 hours or 5 hours combined, to clean 20 meters of beach. (At 4:00, when the sun is less strong, we will go back out and clean the other 20 meters of beach that we own.) Every business and homeowner up and down the beach are being confronted with this same daunting task.

Where did all of this garbage come from? Here at Acocote Eco Inn, Rob and I have been speculating that this sudden trash dump comes from the cruise ships. In October, the cruise ships resumed their visits to port at nearby Mahahual. Even then, it is unlikely that ship garbage alone could inundate miles of beach here. Overall, the whims of the Caribbean have treated us well, since we bought Acocote Eco Inn. Hopefully this nasty garbage trick is limited to the Days of the Dead.

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