It’s Wednesday evening at the old port Ibiza Town and Diynamic mainstay, Solomun, is throwing his free annual open-air bash. Temperatures are a little chillier than usual, but this doesn’t dishearten the dance nation in the slightest. An occasion for all generations, the cobbled streets were filled with tourists, locals, the elderly, teens and plenty of underground enthusiasts.
However, my attention was unavoidably diverted by the mass amounts of clutter scattered across the port. From plastic bottles to crushed beer cans and empty baggies, the aftermath of this thrilling experience illustrated a much more alarming picture.
It was only last month that I participated in a united clean of Bora Bora Beach led by Montreal duo, Blond:ish, and Chris Dews from Casita Verde. Equipped with nothing more than a bucket and a litter picker, we scoured the beach from end-to-end for every plastic bottle, empty beer can and fag butt we could possibly find.
Sat down with Blond:ish outside the beautiful Beachhouse in Playa d’en Bossa, we separated all of the waste into individual sectors. Highlighting the primary cause for this ever-concerning subject, Anstascia says: “Many people come here to get drunk, get wasted and just throw stuff on the floor without thinking. Cigarette butts, garbage, beers… all sorts, that is the main problem.”
Providing further food for thought, Vivie-Ann adds: “I was talking to people whilst we were cleaning up and I think everybody can be placed at fault, even the Spanish locals. People were saying they don’t care, they just throw things everywhere as well.”
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Waste is a massive environmental challenge in island economies. In Ibiza and Formentera alone, the generation of waste is double that of Spain and the rest of Europe. According to the Ibiza Preservation Fund, between 2007 and 2016, solid urban waste surged by 35% with only 16.7% of the total being recycled.
Whilst not all of this is intentional, we all hold equal responsibility for the blame. Vivie-Ann concedes: “It’s not our fault as we’re not doing it intentionally, we are just consumers.” She then acceptingly explains: “We grew up in a different time where we didn’t have plastic everywhere in our oceans and on land, and now it is absolutely everywhere. We are all in this together you know? I don’t think you can blame just one single person.”[/postfeature]
Passionate and purposeful, Vivie-Ann continued with an unperturbed glimmer in her eye. “It motivates us to change the way we have been thinking up until this point. But it is exciting that we can all do it together, it is something that we can all be interested in and we can bond over listening to music and getting the earth back to its original element.”
Ibiza is one of the most magnificent places in Europe, if not the world. Whilst the levels of litter gathering here are very worrying, this doesn’t even scratch the surface in comparison to countries like China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Going further in-depth about the difference between Ibiza and other climates, Anstascia explains: “I think Ibiza’s beaches are pretty civilised to a lot of other beaches we have seen around the world, some of which never get cleaned or aren’t situated in front of a hotel or residential houses.” She then adds: “You just see the mountains and mountains of plastic that nobody ever cleans up, and that is heartbreaking to see.”
Home to the world’s biggest clubs and DJs, the island has created a strong, sentimental connection with party-goers from far and wide. For Blond:ish though, their relationship with the island goes deeper. “We think the thing that we love the most about this island is its raw energy. Everybody is generally in such a happy mood, we are surrounded by nature, oceans, the beautiful countryside… there is so much more that the island has to offer beside partying and having a good time.”
Whilst there is a lot of carelessness in Ibiza when it comes to waste, the island does have a large number of residents who love and respect their bliss community, Casita Verde and Ibiza Limpia to name a few. Elaborating on this further, Anstascia said: “There is actually a recycling system on this island, there are a lot of people who care and actually want to make a difference here and make a real impact.”
Vivie-Ann continues: “I’m just learning about this stuff to be fair, we all are, but from what we have learned, in places where people are just trying to survive, they are not thinking about plastic bags and the effect it has on the environment of the fish.”
The biggest contributor when it comes to contamination amongst fish species is micro-plastics. These are small fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic forms which enter the ocean. It was only back in June that WWF reported that the Mediterranean was at a huge risk of becoming ‘a sea of plastic’ – a material which forms 95% of the waste floating within those waters today.
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“This is, a lot of the time, what the sea mammals are eating, they think it is food, and then they become full and that is what breaks their stomach and this is eventually what makes them die. And then we eat them as well, so its the whole food chain, its everywhere. Soon, we will all be made of plastic.”
By participating in the August beach clean on Bora Bora, we joined a growing network of earth-loving individuals taking our first step of many in eradicating this constant environmental issue. However, whilst this proved very positive and impactful, Anastascia admits there is still a very long way to go before paradise becomes paradise again. “I think it needs to be a really community-driven effort between all of the businesses on the island, the clubs, the restaurants, everyone participating together to eliminate every single use and disposal of plastic. That is the number one thing, even the shops.”[/postfeature]
“When you go to a club, with many of them, the plastic that has been disposed of on the dance floor or on its premises remains there until the end of the night. However, club-goers are thirsty, what can you do?”
Inspired and determined, Vivie-Ann points out what the White Isle needs right now in order to combat its problem of waste most effectively. “There needs to be a compromise between the single uses of plastic and the plastic water bottle and giving out free water, but not harming the environment at the same time.”
“There needs to be some sort of system, whether that be a point-person for a hotel, a point-person for restaurants, there’s a point-person for shops, there’s a point-person for clubs… there’s probably a million different ways to do it, but everyone kind off manages their own little things and it will all come together.”
United and resolute as one, it was very encouraging to see so many ardent people come together to help Blond:ish clean one of Ibiza’s most popular beaches. Whilst the task is beyond overwhelming, this was a small step towards something beautiful happening. Music is helping to connect the world and this is just the beginning.
Below is a video of the Ibiza beach clean in Playa d’en Bossa where Blond:ish were joined by friends and locals to take a tiny step to raising awareness for the island’s plastic problem.
Photo Credit By: Bianca Saardi/Sacha Sussli