CONSERVATION IN GALAPAGOS

How Plastic Water Bottles Threaten the Ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands

AUTHOR Caroline Eaton

At Ecoventura, we are always working towards lessening the environmental impact on the wildlife and eco system of the Galapagos. Since 1999 we have been looking for new ways to ‘green’ the travel experience for our guests and create a sustainable cruise through the islands. Recently we have focused on the thousands of plastic water bottles that are flown into the archipelago and then recycled on the islands. Starting in 2014, we are actively working towards completely eliminating the use of plastic water bottles on all Ecoventura cruises moving forward.

Albatross in the Galapagos Islands by Allison Gardner

Why water bottles threaten the Galapagos Islands environment

They wash into the ocean

Americans alone throw away tens of millions of plastic water bottles every day. The ratio is around 1 in 6 of those plastic bottles is actually recycled, the rest only add to the piles of trash. The rain washes away a portion of these plastic bottles into our rivers, lakes and oceans where they may never fully decompose, causing our wildlife to suffer. According to the Ocean Conservatory, plastic bottles are one of the most prevalent form of pollution found in our beaches and oceans.

They kill the wildlife

The wildlife will eat the plastic, mistaking it for a tasty treat, or get stuck in it. Either way it’s harming our wildlife and needs to be stopped. When marine life  attempts to eat the plastic bottles and bottle tops that are littering our oceans, the plastic gets stuck in their intestines and fills their stomachs.Specifically for sea birds such as the albatross who pick up the plastic pieces and feed it to their young, resulting in their young’s digestive systems being blocked.

They end up in our Landfills

A very small percent of the water bottles we use are actually recycled, most end up in our landfills. They sit in the landfill for hundreds of years without decomposing and create piles of trash that are threatening our natural areas making the world a less beautiful and less healthy place to live. The Galapagos Islands has to fly in the water bottles from the mainland, creating unnecessary trash on the island that can easily be avoided.

plastic water bottles - ecoventura

What is Ecoventura doing?

We are taking a stand against the overuse of plastic water bottles with the end goal of completely eliminating plastic water bottle use on all of Ecoventura’s yachts.

Starting February 9th we are providing all of our guests with collapsible water bottles to use throughout the week. They can refill with the filtered water provided on the boat and then take them home as a souvenir at the end of the week. By offering reuseable water bottles we are currently reducing our usage by 80%, this means there will be 40,000 less plastic bottles in the Galapagos Islands.

Sustainable Travel with plastic water bottles on Ecoventura

What can you do?

Use a reusable water bottle at home and at the office

Don’t just use the collapsible water bottle during your week-long trip to the Galapagos, continue to use the water bottle back home and encourage all of your family members to do the same.

Filter your water at home

Many people use the excuse that they don’t like the taste of the tap water in their city. Use a filtering system directly on your tap, or a Brita type filtering system in your refrigerator to help the taste of the tap water.

Educate yourself

Do your own research and understand the harm the plastic water bottles are doing on the environment and the organizations that are fighting to make a difference. If you are worried about the safety of your tap water, request a water quality report for your local area