Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico – “The sea is the universal sewer,” said the oceanographer, Jacques Yves Cousteau.
We’ve all seen the images of whales washing up on beaches with their stomachs full of plastic, decomposing birds stuffed with discarded bottle tops and cigarette lighters, and turtles with plastic carrier bags hanging out of their mouths.
Do you throw garbage into your neighbors’ homes? No, neither do I. So why do we foul our oceans? According to a resident artist, Misael, “There is no trash infrastructure in Mexico so, during the summer rainy season in Puerto Vallarta, whatever trash is still on the street flows to the ocean. It can be very messy.”
How bad is it? Ocean Conversancy calculates we throw eight million metric tonnes of plastic into the ocean every year. Let’s break that down a bit. One of the biggest passenger planes is the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Each one weighs 35 metric tonnes. So we humans are dumping the equivalent of 2,285,000 Dreamliners into the oceans each year – or 6,260 a day! The eight million tons join the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.
A couple of years ago, before Covid, a member of the International Friendship Club (IFC), who has a deep knowledge of plastics from his professional career, discussed the “plastics in the oceans” problem with the Principal of the American School of Puerto Vallarta. There, the children were studying sustainability and voicing their concerns for the oceans’ future.
As a result, IFC asked Misael to paint an extensive mural on a wall next to a bus stop on Calle Peru, behind Ley grocery store, with the theme “No Plasticos!” It is now complete and is 4m tall by 100m long. This huge, stunning mural promotes recycling and the elimination of single-use plastics in Puerto Vallarta.
I asked Misael how he felt about his unmistakable cry to save the ocean, just three blocks away from his mural. He told me that “The mural is a Mission given to me by Mother Nature and the children. It contains the demand that we must clean up the oceans but, sadly, this task will be left to the next generation.”
We need to remember just one thing – “You can’t throw anything away.” When we do, it goes somewhere else, and we simply change its location. It doesn’t disappear. It goes into the garbage or onto the street and then into the landfill or the ocean. Only we humans make things that Nature can’t digest.
The International Friendship Club (IFC) is sponsoring a Recognition Event to publicize the importance of Misael’s mural and his message. It will be from 5:00 – 7:00 PM, Thursday, January 27, 2022, at Oscar’s Restaurant (outside. on the grass). Everyone is welcome to attend, but please remember that full vaccination and a mask are required.
The strongest governments on earth cannot clean up pollution by themselves. They must rely on each person, like you and me, to do the right thing.
Written by John Warren of the International Friendship Club.
The International Friendship Club is a registered charitable organization in Mexico listed as Club Internacional de la Amistad de Puerto Vallarta A.C. It is located at the northeast corner of the Rio Cuale Bridge above the HSBC Bank, Colonia El Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 48300. Phone: 322-222-5466. Website: ifcvallarta.org Email: info(at)ifcvallarta.org