Los Cabos authorities have declared that they will be raising awareness of the negative effects caused by littering on beaches by tourists.
Officials hope to strengthen both the amount of information available and encourage proper management of waste on the beaches of Los Cabos, particularly tobacco filters.
Zofemat (The Municipal Coordinators of the Federal Maritime Zone), which is led by Jorge Alonso Meza Núñez, plans to implement specific ‘awareness days’ in popular areas of the tourist zone in Los Cabos.
Núñez commented that, “These actions will be carried out throughout the environmental education areas of both San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, with the aim of providing a healthier beach environment and promoting sustainable cultural practices”.
He stressed that cigarette butts in particular are among the main micro-waste often collected on the beaches. A single filter can contaminate up to 10 litres of salt water and its decomposition takes several years.
A cigarette butt can take up to fifty years to decompose, and in Los Cabos specifically, this mainly affects fishing boats and marine life, which may ingest the butts, as well as making beaches unclean and potentially dangerous.
There has also been reports that much of the littering is left by people who choose to camp on the beaches and leave glass bottles. These can often break or get buried underneath the sand which can be dangerous for both animals and tourists.
He also mentioned that the planned awareness days will be specifically targeted to the Los Cabos beaches which have received the international Blue Flag award, including those that are located further north of Los Cabos.
The coordinator of Zofemat, along with Oscar Leggs Castro who chaired the meeting, endorsed plans for the awareness days and further action which will be aimed at promoting positive environmental values, in order to continue consolidating Los Cabos as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with the most clean, safe and sustainable beaches.
Not only was Los Cabos voted as having the cleanest beaches in Mexico, as well as the most Blue Flags, but the region is also known for its diverse marine life.
Boat trips to see dolphins and whales, as well as turtles nesting on many of the beaches is a significant concern for the government in relation to littering which could have a serious impact on wildlife.
However, when a community trash cleaning effort was organized in recent months, more than 2.3 tonnes of trash was collected in total, showing there is still a way to go.
This announcement comes two months after it was revealed that the Los Cabos authorities are seeking a smoking ban on beaches and in hotels, in light of a wider decision in Mexico which will also affect stadiums and shopping malls.
This is not only due to the environment, but due to the cost that tobacco related diseases cause and the pressure they put on the health services in Los Cabos.
The same campaign also seeks to ban all advertising of any tobacco related products, following a similar implementation of a ban on e-cigarettes earlier in the year.
Currently in Los Cabos, smoking is only banned in enclosed businesses, such as bars and restaurants, although these places usually have outdoor seating areas where smoking is allowed.
Due to the huge tourist boom in Los Cabos this year, with visitor numbers expected to top 7 million, issues such as littering are seeing a huge increase. Although there are teams dedicated to cleaning up beaches in the area it was reported that they had to work 12-hour shifts to be able to collect all of the rubbish.