Keep Cabo’s Beaches Clean

We want more blue flags than Cancun
BY: LACEY STORER

If you take a hard look at the beaches of Los Cabos, you might notice they look a little cleaner these day. You’ll see fewer pieces of trash dotting the sand and mixing with the seashells.

A recent beach cleanup effort on Medano Beach brought out more than 120 people, mostly hotel and restaurant employees. They spent two happy hours collecting all types of  icky stuff , like cigarette butts, aluminum cans, straws and glass. The cleanup efforts are part of Zofemat’s (that’s Mexico’s federal maritime agency) campaign to get Los Cabos residents in the habit of picking up after themselves and keeping the beaches clean, as well as passing these habits on to their children.

Another part of Zofemat’s campaign is sending its own employees out to walk along the beaches,  stopping to talk to tourists about keeping the beaches clean. (Because that’s what everyone wants to get when they’re on vacation, right? A lecture about trash.) Tourists are instructed not to take animals to certain beaches or to make fires on the beach. They’re also shown the trash and recycling bins where they can separate and throw away their waste.

Zofemat is also holding workshops about waste management for the tourist service providers in Cabo. They’re shown examples of the most common types of trash picked up on the beaches, and how they can negatively impact the marine life.

The city of Los Cabos is also getting in on the action. To celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, they planned an entire week of activities, including another big cleanup of Medano Beach. And it’s no wonder the beach needs more than one go; we’ve seen all the trash that gets left behind during Spring Break. We can only imagine what’s buried under all that sand.

Although Zofemat says the goal of all these cleanups and workshops is to teach tourists and residents about the importance of taking care of the environment, care and concern for Mother Earth isn’t the only thing that’s motivating them, and the city, to keep the beaches clean.

It was recently announced that another four Los Cabos beaches – Acapulquito, Las Viudas (Widows Beach), Hacienda and Packer (beach by the marina where the old cannery was) – were given the esteemed blue flag designation this month. Combined with the three Los Cabos beaches that are already blue flag designated, Chileno, Santa Maria and Palmilla, that puts the total at seven blue flag beaches; that ties us with Cancun as having the most blue flag beaches.

The blue flag is a global accreditation that’s given to beaches that have shown excellence if four categories: water quality, environmental education and information, management of environmental issues and safety and services. Beaches that are blue flag certified must meet (and maintain) 33 quality standards and criteria. “In that commitment, we urge our local residents and tourists to keep our beaches clean,” Zofemat’s municipal coordinator, Juan Adolfo Orcí Martínez explained.

He also said that Zofemat is already working with developers on getting more beaches certified, so they can brag that Los Cabos is the destination in Mexico with the most blue flags. OK, so that’s not exactly a feel good motive for keeping the beaches clean, but if the outcome is the same and less trash ends up in the water and the tummies of the sea turtles and fishies, then does it really matter?