Tonnes of garbage cleaned up from Galapagos coast

March 18, 2018
Officials at Ecuador's Galapagos National Park say they have collected 22 tonnes of garbage since January off the coasts of the pristine archipelago, some of it from as far away as Asia

Officials at Ecuador's Galapagos National Park say they have collected 22 tonnes of garbage since January off the coasts of the pristine archipelago, some of it from as far away as Asia.

The coastal garbage cleanup is aimed at studying "the possible arrival of invasive species in the waste swept in by the ," the Park said in a statement late Saturday.

The Galapagos, the Pacific archipelago of volcanic islands that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, are located about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador.

The bulk of the garbage reaches the island shores "from the coasts of Central and South America, and even from the Asian continent," the statement said.

The national park, created in 1959, protects 97 percent of the islands' land surface.

The Galapagos has an especially high concentration of endemic species, including giant tortoises and penguins. In 1978 UNESCO classified the islands as a World Heritage Site.

A marine reserve spanning 138,000 square kilometers (53,280 square miles) was also established.

And a 38,000-square-kilometer marine sanctuary in which all fishing is banned was set up between two of the islands. Those waters are home to the world's highest concentration of sharks.

Most of the garbage comes from outside as Ecuador has a strict limit on visitors, and only 26,000 people live on the four inhabited islands.

Galapagos authorities limit construction, promote the use of , and have banned plastic bags to protect the unique environment of the islands.

Explore further: Ecuador creates sanctuary for hammerhead sharks

Related Stories

Galapagos fights temptation of lucrative mass tourism

February 8, 2018

With its iconic giant tortoises, crested black iguanas, huge ocean manta rays and a veritable menagerie of other cool creatures, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most beautiful places you will probably never visit.

Breeding season under way for Galapagos tortoises

January 10, 2013

Breeding season is under way for the endangered tortoises of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, whose mating and nesting habits are carefully watched by wildlife specialists hoping to save them from extinction.

Recommended for you

Fish's use of electricity might shed light on human illnesses

June 21, 2018

Deep in the night in muddy African rivers, a fish uses electrical charges to sense the world around it and communicate with other members of its species. Signaling in electrical spurts that last only a few tenths of a thousandth ...

Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo

June 21, 2018

A so-called "jumping gene" that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study in mice led ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.