Latin America

Plastic pollution is a big threat to Galápagos Islands

Strict rules seek to protect the ecologically-sensitive archipelago from environmental threats and the negative impacts of tourism. But the growing problem of plastic pollution is a tricky issue to tackle

Sea turtle gets tangled on a plastic bag along the coast of the Galapagos Santiago Island. Photo: LouieLea/Shutterstock
Sea turtle gets tangled on a plastic bag along the coast of the Galapagos’ Santiago Island. Photo: LouieLea/Shutterstock

Visiting the Galápagos Islands — the Ecuadorian archipelago made famous by British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin, and known for its giant tortoises — is no easy task. If the exorbitant airfares (an average of USD 400 for a round-trip from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city) do not deter visitors, the entry fees (USD 100 for most tourists aged over 12), multiple forms, and airport security might. 

The Galápagos slap hefty fees on tourists as a way of financing biodiversity conservation services and controlling the influx of people to the ecologically-sensitive islands. Since 1998, the Galápagos have been run under a...

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