“Noche de San Juan” a Contaminated Tradition #DileNoAlFoam

Noche De San Juan Isla Verde 2015

When humans are confronted with situations that our out of control, we tend to sweep the issue under a rug and attempt to ignore it.

For quite some time many on my Island intend to make others believe that we don’t have a pollution problem.

Last year I write a post on how way too many individuals that visit the Beach leave trash behind.

The title of the post offended a few (probably the same that litter the beach). I wanted them to get mad and do something about it, but after seeing the pictures of the beach, they criticized my blog post title.  They carry loads of junk near the most beautiful places on the Island. Then once they finish with their day, they are too lazy to carry that junk back to where they brought it from.

Some government agencies do a good job of hiding the issue. So I sometimes use unorthodox methods to get the issue out to the masses. Last time I did that it worked and I got the attention of many and very influential folks.

Our Department of Natural Resources (DRNA in spanish) fuels there propaganda engine and is the first to hide the issues. The DRNA spends all their time educating the public on what wildlife not to harm and why they should not leave trash behind. I have been present when they go after folks who have proper permits to do an event on the beach, but they wouldn’t dare stop those who create events without proper permits.

First Time I see Some Presence of the DRNA

For the first time in years living on the beach, I actually saw the Department of Natural Resources present. I thought their presence was to enforce the laws. Sadly their teams where just moving around. The DRNA vehicles drove near those breaking the laws. I did not see one stop or give a fine to anyone or at least give them a warning.

They spend a lot of time asking citizens to report violations.

For hours I attempted to get the attention of the @DRNAPR on twitter regarding tents that were set up illegally. They tweeted back with some hollow responses. The rangers drove by the tents many times. The tents stood up all night into the early morning and a fight broke out around one.

I observed the DRNA tent and how more rangers were meeting up just looking at the crowds. Even more ridiculous was the huge diesel generator keeping the lights on in a huge tent going near the beach. Not sure how environmentally friendly a generator is for the beach.

A Disconnect in their objective

One thing the DRNA demonstrates is the huge disconnect with the solutions to the problem can be to what they are actually doing. There goals seems to be to fuel propaganda and vague attempts at public relations. The Isla Verde community and myself personally have requested meetings with the head of DRNA and the requests have not been answered.

Do they really think people are not smart enough to see through that? One thing is the vision they try to create, the other is the execution on those goals.

Cleaning Crews Around the Clock

Brigadas de Limpieza

Cleaning Crew Truck Leaving the area with Trash before 10pm last night.

Last night there were cleaning crews working around the clock. I captured a garbage truck leaving at 10pm and another one coming in. Why is it that we continue to teach people that someone will clean up after them? This morning Lucy captured a pick up truck full of styrofoam coolers which are usually left behind near the water.

Places like Walgreens and the supermarkets near the beach sell them and a good percentage of them are also left behind. You see them everywhere around the beach even on days that are not special beach events.

It is time the styrofoam cooler is banned from sale. For those who choose to litter the beach, the main purpose of these coolers is to leave them behind and not have to carry them back.

I did not go around like I have done in the past taking pictures of the disaster. The cleaning crews did a great job of picking up after those who choose to litter. Sadly, some of that trash ended up in the ocean. With the high winds we have these days, I am sure it did not give the cleaning crews a chance to get 100% of the trash.

It is disappointing to see how people try to hide a tradition behind the debauchery of creating chaos on the beach.

  • Men were urinating near cops in front of our fence. Other men were urinating on the border of the beach. These men were screaming and calling attention to themselves.
  • The music pollution for wildlife and residents is out of control.
  • Residents were helping clean the beach this morning. Is this really fair? They don’t get to sleep well because of the chaos and now they have to cleanup after the party goers.
  • My disappointment is with the authorities. When will the DRNA take control and go after those that decide to poison our environment and create an unsafe area?

We can ignite change with making sure we have the authorities start with five things:

1. Arresting people for public intoxication and indecent exposures of those peeing.
2. Fining folks who decide to leave trash behind.
3. Banning Styrofoam coolers from sale so they don’t end up in our rivers and bodies of water.
4. Responding to those citizens like me that report when there is a violation.
5. Spending more time executing on a plan of action to protect the environment, instead of passing flyers and seeking press coverage.

What other suggestions do you have other than educating a public that already knows what they have to do?

PS: The Only Politician Working on a Solution

While I was editing this blog post, I found that Angel Matos, one of the few politicians and our representative of Carolina who is always listening and trying to take care of our concerns, is working on banning styrofoam.


He created a hashtag #DileNoAlFoam. Different from others who try to hide the issue, he was tweeting and at the beach this morning documenting the trash that was left behind.

I encourage you to tweet this blog post and retweet some of Angel’s tweets to your politician so we can start with banning Styrofoam Coolers.
Angel can count on the support of our Isla Verde community, myself included, in this movement towards keeping our beaches and environment cleaner.