Where I live dogs are only allowed on the beach during winter, which is not a problem as there is a dog park a ten-minute walk away. Having the beach as a dog walking option during the winter is great, as it is just around the corner from my apartment.
During the beginning of winter a huge amount of rubbish, bamboo stick and clothes washed up on the beach. I was shocked to see this once beautiful beach become a dumping ground, but had heard rumours that it came from a hurricane nearby. The wreckage spread right across the beach, so high it blocked the path to the sea. Whilst my sympathy was with the people suffering from the devastation I wanted the once clean beach to come back. On the third day, I decided it was time to take action and readied myself with bags to collect rubbish on my next walk to the beach. Although, I was surprised to see tractors already cleaning the mound of rubbish, that I knew alone would take me months to clear. I was pleased, although confused to find that a gigantic tunnel had been built right in the middle of the beach that led to a large dark opening.
The beach had been cleared but bits of wreckage too small for the tractors to collect had been left. On this particular day, my partner and I had strolled down to the beach for a walk with the dog and happened upon a bird lying in the large tunnel. The bird seemed to be injured so in an attempt to pull it out I shuffled down the edge of the bank to reach it. As I got closer I could see the bird was covered in fishing wire. At this point, I knew I needed something to cut the bird free, but had not wanted to pull the bird up over the bank in fear I might injure it more. I approached two men and asked if they had any scissors to cut the bird free. Both had been very helpful by pulling out a penknife and cutting the bird free themselves. It was great news that the bird had been cut free but unfortunately, it had swallowed the hook too far for us to be able to get it out. I questioned whether we could take it to the vet but the two men had told me it would not be treated, as seagulls are seen as vermin. Left with disappointment and sadness in my heart, we left the bird alone and hoped for the best.
A week had passed without seeing this particular seagull so I had hope that it had managed to fly away. Although when returning to the beach I was saddened to find a seagull who had met an ill fate, lying lifeless on the ground. I had spotted the bird whilst pulling Cubone (my dog) away as she tried restlessly to investigate the body.
After this, the beach never seemed to remain clean, with rubbish washing up every day. Cubone became trained enough to be off the lead but never listened when we tried to keep her away from the rubbish. I convinced myself people would be back to clean it up, but nothing was ever done and the poor seagull’s body still lay on the beach.
I walked Cubone once a day and every time a new dead animal would pop up. Now there had been rats and Cubone did not hesitate to Snatch up everyone in her jaws. I tried tirelessly to stop her from eating the animals on the beach but to no value. And more seagulls had been showing up dead, wrapped in fishing wire.
After nothing being done me and a friend of mine decided to clean up the beach together. We prepared ourselves with gloves, bags, and shovels and went down there to get it sorted once and for all. We spent a full day collecting rubbish to be recycled and disposing of the animal carcasses there. By the end of it all, I was tired but proud that my local beach now looked somewhat back to its original self. Before I left the beach I noticed an unusual bird I had never seen before, hiding in the trees. A tall white bird with red feathers on its head. I was happy to be taking in the nature of Spain and experiencing new species I had not yet seen before.
After not returning to the beach for a few days, I decided it was time Cubone and I took a long walk on the beach I could now be proud of. Although when I returned I was met with a once again littered beach. All our hard work had gone to waste and now I was beginning to feel deflated. I walked closer to the sea as Cubone did the usual of inspecting the rubbish and sniffing out something she could eat.
As I drew closer I noticed another dead bird, I approached and was heartbroken to see the tall white bird I had spotted only a few days ago. I can not be sure it was the same bird, but it was certainly discouraging to see the same species dead. Cubone had obviously spotted the bird by this point and snatched it up whilst running away from me. I was angered and placed her back on the lead for a while as a lesson. I finally released her again somewhat further down the beach, but she ran wildly again and found the wingspan of a seagull. To which she snatched between her teeth and ran away eating whilst crunching at the bone. I finally got her to come and with a stern telling off continued our walk.
After this, the story gets a bit gruesome as to Cubone eating what she shouldn’t on the beach. I was absolutely furious and vowed to never take her to the beach again because she just could not learn. I blamed Cubone for ruining our time at the beach and I have not returned since.
After a while of consideration, I came to find Cubone was not to blame. The beach appeared to be littered with carcasses and how could I blame a dog for doing what comes naturally to her? It was not Cubones fault at all, but the fault of people everywhere around the world. These animals were dying at an alarming rate, and not for natural causes. Almost all of the birds I had found dead on the beach had been wrapped in fishing wire and I can only assume the ones I couldn’t visibly see had been lodged inside their throats.
The beach was littered with plastic and items turned to waste. Animals were dying as a consequence and I was furious. I had along this journey happened into some information, discovering that the large tunnel leading to the sea was a sewage passage. A sewage passage which dumbed out tons of rubbish per day into the sea.
It’s shocking that this beautiful paradise during the summer becomes a dumping ground. The worst thing about it is that no one would ever know. During the high season, the beach is maintained, beautiful, ready for the eye of the tourist. Although as soon as the holidaymakers leave, it becomes nothing but a graveyard.
I feel defeated and everything part of me tells me it is against my morals to step back from this situation. Although, I am no longer going to the beach. I gave it my all to maintain a beautiful paradise. And every part of me tells me I need to do better, but I can no longer put my Cubone at risk. It is not a safe place to walk a pet, with all kinds of sharp objects washing up every day. I can no longer continue to struggle and fight with her so she will stop snatching every dead animal she finds. So no, it is not her fault. And I cannot entirely blame the world either, because when its time for the crowds to come they’re not faced with the terrible reality of our polluted world. Yet the locals are left with death and destruction. And with the world to continue on without hearing of this issue nothing can be done to stop the floods of pollution piling up on our beach, killing the nature that inhabits it and putting our beloved pets at risk.
I'm just trying to share a little love and make the world a better place! <3