This trash clean-up took place in the context of an Introduction to Scuba Diving and Marine Natural History class through Prescott College. Prescott College has a field station in Bahia de Kino, Sonora, Mexico, which is where we were stationed for two weeks conducting this course.
Toward the end of the course, we traveled two hours south through the desert and agricultural land of the Sonoran coast, to the small cove of CaletaVenecia where we conducted the trash clean-up. CaletaVenecia is a remote, long and narrow cove which the opening faces almost directly west. Venecia is a popular fishing camp for locals, as well as a common picnic area for people. So needless to say there is a large amount of trash cluttering the cove, the beach, and the desert surrounding the area.
We conducted an underwater clean-up as well as a shore clean-up. The main things we found underwater was plastic bags, plastic bottles, and some net which looked like fishing nets. On shore there was every form of plastic debris you could imagine scattered throughout the pebble beach. Judging by all of the rope, fishing line, and food containers we came across while cleaning up, it was evident that this site was a common fishing camp. In total we picked up 30 lbs of trash, in which roughly 90% was plastic material.
This project proved to be a great educational experience for the students in the course. After learning about the extent of marine debris in the ocean, mainly plastics, then doing a hands-on project like this and seeing for themselves what is really out there was very impactful.