Contaminated bodies of water on the Island

Contaminated bodies of water on the Island

By: Francis Rodriguez & Emmanuel Robles

Piles of Garbage

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Wood pallets and plastic bags, behind The Luquillo Kiosks, being dragged by the rain, end up pilling themselves onto a small river that leads to the ocean. The night before, large quantities of people visited the local restaurants, contributing to the excess amounts of waste. This problem has been affecting business through the years while the amount of trash keeps increasing, affecting directly the course of the river and inducing bad smells into the facilities.

Dark Tones

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Sewer water from the streets in front of baseball park Isidro Garcia in Mayaguez, ends up besides a recreational skate park and eventually, makes its way into the beach. For water to reach this quantity and to produce this black tone, an extensive period of time has to take place. This accumulation of dirty water contributes to the dark tones of the sand and coastal water from the area.

A Silent Breeder

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Tires are a very common items to see around polluted bodies of water. The development of white oysters around it suggests the tire has been there for many years. Apart from being an unwanted waste product on the beach, fresh water from rain gets collected inside of the tire, creating a perfect environment for the mosquitos to breed.

Animals Make a living out of trash

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An iguana enjoying the murky black waters from a pond in Mayaguez. A family of iguanas has been getting used to living in this kind of environmental putrefaction. This iguana has acquired a darker skin tone than usual, due to the filth of where they tend to swim.

Animals Make a living out of trash

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Trash getting dragged back and forth with the tidal current on the beach, while a white heron searches for food. Although herons are migratory birds, for short periods of time they remain living in specific areas, which would mean that this particular heron has gotten used to eating garbage sometimes. Herons tend to eat little organisms that will fit inside their mouth, and when living among trash, they look for small leftovers that might look like food.

Animals Make a living out of trash

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Small organism such as small crabs get used so using these kind of items as their home. As years pass by, natural habitats such as this one end up getting polluted, forcing organisms to adapt themselves to keep surviving. Crabs need humid places, usually below the surface, but these crabs chose to make the best out of the worst.

Lights in all directions

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Bioluminescent nature reserves such as Laguna Grande in Fajardo gets affected by light contamination from nearby towns. Although this body of water has the brightest glowing water in the entire World, for the last 49 years, excess of light has been affecting the viewing of this phenomenon. This is the third most visited place in Puerto Rico, and although it’s clean from trash, El Conquistador Resort is a big enemy to this ecosystem due to it’s lights emissions.

“Disappearing trash”

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Oscar Santiago, 41, complains about how much trash he saw going down the river whenever it rains strongly. He is one of the residents around the Fajardo River who’s house got affected by the large quantities of trash bags and boxes that flow down the body of water. “What people need to understand is that whenever they throw something away, it does not just disappear, it gets somewhere, and that somewhere is here! Around our house”.

“A big trashcan”

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Trash bag thrown away by a passing car is a couple of feet away from getting inside a river full of fish and turtles. According to nearby resident, people who are not from around the area have commonly used this place as a “big trashcan”, as Santiago said. “It is not the first time something like this happens. Whenever people see a deserted place like this, they lose respect both for nature and for us, the residents”.

Years of Blockage

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A sewerage with an outlet to the ocean gets clogged with excess of trash and sand due to erosion. The food kiosks around the sewer, have contributed over the past years the blockage of this outlet that leads to the ocean. Every time a construction takes place and nature is damaged, erosion increases, leading to difficulties such as blocked outlets and landslides.

A hundred years of misery

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Plastic items such as trash bags ended up in the bottom of a river close to a boat ramp. For years, boaters have complained about the trash that most of the time gets stuck on the boat propellers and damage the motors by forcing them to create more power than they have to. The decomposition of a plastic bag takes place between 50 to 100 years.

Young Myths

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Thrash bags being left behind by a group of the elderly after a day at the beach. According to past news stories on the television, teenagers are the leading cause of dirty coast in Puerto Rico. This picture puts the televised statement into questioning.

Beautiful water, horribles surroundings

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Full garbage cans on Luquillo beach make people believe they are on a dumpster. Most tourists had complained to restaurant owners about how filthy they kept that part of the beach on festive days. “We came on festive days to take a small vacation on the Island, it was sad for us to find so much trash in such a beautiful beach,” said a tourist.

National Rainforest

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The second most visited place in Puerto Rico, the rainforest El Yunque has parts close to it’s rivers were trash is present. Throughout the years, the trash around this national park has decreased, as local tour guides have encouraged visitors to keep their surroundings cleaner. El Yunque has the biggest diversity of plants per square feet in the entire U.S. forest system.

Problem for turtles

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Excess of lighting by the Luquillo beach, La Pared, illuminates a couple hundred feet into the water. For decades, the environmental organization Sierra Club, has demanded the Luquillo municipality to change the intensity and direction of these lights because Leatherback turtle get confused when nesting. This part of the Island has been a common place for these turtles to nest.


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