Do you notice the plastic all around you? Plastic is everywhere in our lives, but some plastics are more harmful than others. When plastics make their way into natural places, they can become an issue for local animals and plants, as well as being unpleasant to look at. Fortunately there are people very aware of the problem who try to make a difference and help us all. For instance, the initiative of two Irish women, Sandra and Carla, who noticed all the plastic in the Dublin mountains and decided to do something about it.
They had never realised before how much PLASTIC POLLUTION there were on the hiking trails in the beautiful mountains surrounding their city. So on their walks they started picking up as much plastic as possible. There was never a walk where they didn’t find pieces of plastic. So, the Plastic Free Camino was born!
How did they plan their Plastic Free Camino?
The pair had already decided to walk a section of the Camino together. They chose to walk the Camino Frances route from Estella to Burgos – a total of 172 km. Then, they added the extra element of picking up all the plastic they saw along the way. It made sense for them to continue their commitment to plastic-free walks while walking the Camino because the Camino is a spiritual, cultural, historical, natural and adventurous experience that belongs to all of humanity.
Before starting the project, they had no idea if the Camino trails would be especially polluted. They did find a fair amount of plastic along the way, but they were also pleased to see that some stretches of the Camino de Santiago were almost completely clean, which they were very happy about!
More than just the physical act of picking up plastic, the trip was also to raise awareness of plastic pollution in general. The pair talked to many people about how plastic impacts the world as they walked. Their initial intention was to move everyone to preserve nature and all that they cherish as beautiful in this world: mountains, beaches, woods, fields, etc. – symbolically embodied by The Camino de Santiago.
They also had many interesting thoughts and realisations of their own as they walked, for example, about the metaphorical sense of what they were doing – picking up a weight that others had chosen to drop. Many people approached them as they walked, both locals and pilgrims, to ask them about their initiative or just say “Thank you”. The feedback they received was at times very different from what they had expected. A couple of pilgrims chose to share the road with them and that helped our morale.
There were aspects they hadn’t anticipated and some lessons for them to learn along the way. If being a pilgrim is challenging… being a pilgrim on a mission is even more challenging! They underestimated the physical demands of their initiative. In fact, the foot pain after 5 days was unbearable and frustration caught them at times…But they didn’t stop the Plastic Free project because they were aware they were doing something important.
By the end of their trip, their perspective on the project had shifted and their message had evolved. They found that the PERCEPTION OF PLASTIC is not very realistic as everybody has become accustomed to seeing it along the roads and takes it for granted. The reality is that there is much more plastic than we think. Each of us should take responsibility for the waste they produce and everyone should put into account to have to carry their own load, rubbish included, when they’re out and about.
An article by FollowtheCamino.
And remember, be responsible while enjoying the Camino. That is why you can always rely on HOSTAL GAU TXORI: comfortable accommodation, nice and traditional food and a wonderful natural landscapes plastic free as you pass by Zubiri. And, of course, we take all the security and hygiene measures to face the covid 19.