The not so beautiful side of San Blas

The not so beautiful side of San Blas

For now we have only shared the most incredible and different things in San Blas. However, not everything is that perfect. Unfortunately, some parts of this natural paradise get dirty because of the garbage that is brought in by the Pacific currents that join with the garbage produced by tourists. It is not something that prevents you from enjoying the beach and being enchanted by the landscape, but in the long run it can become a bigger problem.
Most of the islands do not have cans or garbage bags. Tourists must be aware of taking their bags and leaving the garbage on the boats. The cleanliness of the places depends on the kunas that always charge 2 dollars per tourist to leave the island clean – this value is usually already included in the daily sailboat.

The not so beautiful side of San Blas

Deserted island in Coco Bandero (Photo: Paulo Cuenca)

Since neither the Kuna congress nor the government of Panama solves this problem, the population itself is trying to resolve this issue. In the case of cans, the kunas collect a good amount and sell to ships along with the coconuts. Papers and plastics are accumulated on the floor and they wait until all this material is very dry. After that, they burn everything on the islands. This process of spreading rubbish on the floor to burn it also contributes a lot to the appearance of dirt in some areas – not to mention the fact that at any time it can hit a stronger wind and spread rubbish everywhere.
Ah, in relation to organic waste, they throw everything in the sea, since there is not that much problem. In general, some islands are cleaner than others and, unfortunately, the most deserted ones are usually very dirty, because there is no one to take care of the garbage that is brought by the currents: / This issue also varies according to the kuna family responsible for island. Some of them are very well taken care of, as is the case with Morrodup, but others are really “loose”. Another factor that contributes to dirt is the wind, but it varies a lot. An island that Paulo and I consider to be dirty can look much better if the wind blows in another direction.
Despite the lack of infrastructure and options for the proper disposal of all this waste, we all have a responsibility. As I said, most of the garbage comes from ocean currents, so any item thrown on the streets and beaches around the world can end up there. Kuna Yala is just one of the places where the problem appears, but it is not new that each of our actions here has an impact on the planet. Better take care of our garbage before unprotected havens like this disappear or get taken over by dirt, right?

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