Palawan really is "a little corner of paradise". From Coron to Balabac, white sand beaches are met with coconut trees, and the coral gardens and turquoise lagoons offer amazing snorkelling. But, somehow, some of the world's most beautiful places are littered with the effects of human kind... and a whole lot of plastic pollution!
On the flight to Busuanga Island, we were treated to amazing scenery, and the drive through the countryside was just as stunning. Our eyes were fixed out the window at the endless carpet of green farmland and not a single piece of litter in sight. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Coron Town itself, with us noticing a massive amount of litter and a distinct lack of bins.
The nearby points of interest on Coron Island (Kayanga Lake and Twin Lagoon) were heavily protected against any form of litter and, as a result, there was none to be seen in the water. But that said, the open ocean was a completely different story, with plastic bags, bottles and food wrappers cluttering the water. It seemed to congregate right above what was regarded as one of the best and most beautiful coral gardens in the area. It all became clear how serious the issue with marine litter was and how we as humans need to change the way that we consume. At times, we weren't sure if we were swimming through swarms of jelly fish, so it was saddening to imagine what a hungry turtle could quite easily end up doing.
Our tour guide who called herself "Happy" showed a concern about the plastic pollution and marine litter, and had a genuine desire to conserve her beautiful home for generations to come! Whilst another crew member took over her tour guide duties, assisting those that weren't quite as strong swimmers, Happy dived straight into the water with a bag in hand to collect as much of the plastics as she could and thanked us for helping as well. The whole experience actually made us quite hopeful for the future of marine conservation.