The Edge of Africa, Trashed

2005 > Senegal

Is that your Evian I see, blow into this lee?

beauty, eh?
Beautiful from afar
now look close
Ugly up close
Today I went for a run around Ngor and ran out to Pointe des Almadies, the western-most point in Africa. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe a Key West scene or maybe a dull marker like the equator in Kenya. It was a whole different story in Senegal.

The western-most point has a Club Med on one side, a private house on the other, and a little group of bars and trinket and food stalls in between. Behind that is what looks like a fish hatchery or maybe a hold for the catch, though the coast is way too rocky for ships to come in. Rocky and trashy.

As Pointe des Almadies sticks out into the Atlantic and the cold Canary Current coming down from the north, it catches all manner of trash and debris on its shores. Ever wonder where a plastic bottle tossed into the Parisian Seine River goes? Wonder no more, I’ve seen them, all of them.

Its views like this that amaze me, how we humans can produce and discard so much indestructible trash. I can only imagine the head shaking archeologists a thousand years from now will do when they hit this layer in the world’s sediments. Out they will pull plastic bottles, flip-flops, and probably a perfectly edible Twinkie. Great.

Lord help them if they stumble on an American land fill. They’ll be able to figure out the minutiae of our lifestyles from all the trash we discard. Everything we do comes in multiple layers of shrink-wrap and extra packaging. Packaging that’s plastic-based and will last a thousand years in a landfill and then another thousand in some future museum.

This is the record of our daily activities we are leaving on the planet – plastic bottles.

3 Comments on “The Edge of Africa, Trashed

  1. If one was to put a $ value to garbage, would there be so much garbage languishing in the beautiful waters’ edge of Afreekuh or for that matter half of the world? Whatever happened to the Indian chief with a tear in his eye? So sad to think that environmental responsibility is tossed out like that plastic Evian bottle when the “standard” of living rises.

    WPost Article on “Dead Electronics Going to Waste”
    rer=emailarticle. Another sign of things to come, even in Afreekuh. Don’t let it happen, Wayan!

  2. Hm!Just talk about recycling in that zone!Unheard of! But such is life.There we go!
    That’s what it means ‘Travelling’.
    I envy your rich ‘upstairs’.
    Anyhow,thanx for all this.You put me in a picture as if I’m with you there.Just missing nothing!
    Great job man,and thanx for putting your talents in ‘good soil with enough silt and natural manure’.

  3. When I see all that gabbage at the wrong place,it just come to my mind that all continents seem to be the same but different in standards.
    Now think of the countries are the biggest threat to the environment in terms of air and water pollution.And surprisingly,they are the the ones boycotting the KYOTO stuff.No Oil no life,or business?Greedy or what?
    Those guys in Senegal don’t see that gabbage as a real problem if they get their fish from their waters without any hassels.
    Wonderful world to live in.