The Hel Peninsula is a place

IMG_7975-2The Hel Peninsula is a place where fishing and tourism provide a chance to survive – because they pay. But we are beginning to think that tourism is as horrible an industry as fishing is. It always stinks in the port and it’s polluted. We got used to it, but the dreams of a different everyday reality have been maturing in us. We want it to be different even though we are the residents of the place, which is a tourist destination. Hel is still a home for us.
Why do we have to accept the noise, trampled plants by the beach, loud music and bad-mannered tourists? Are these the inevitable costs of earning money? It is us, the residents of Hel, who clean the beaches in springtime and in autumn, because we love relaxing there all year round. It is us who accept sleepless nights in summertime in the name of earning money, which is enough to survive all year round. It is us who can only smell fried fish in summer, the odour stronger even than the odour of the port. Accepting all that is our conscious decision taken under the financial pressure, but what about the animals? What advantages are there for the animals living in the Hel woods? I don’t think they ever wanted to live in the woods littered with bottles, plastic, paper and chocolate wrappers. Although it might still be better than setting the forest on fire, which does happen when playful tourists start a bonfire and lose control over it. One of the summer attractions of Hel is a tree decorated with empty bottles. For us it’s a monument of despair…
Every year we remove rubbish from military bunkers – several dozens bags worth of rubbish; and fromIMG_7881-2 one of the most untouched beaches – another several dozens of bags and some tyres on top of that. Do tourists who come here in summertime spend their time in cities in a similar manner? We don’t think so!
Some will say that these are the extra costs we pay for living in a tourist destination. But these are costs, which we don’t understand and don’t accept. After all people come here seeking nature. Why don’t they notice its assets? Why do they destroy the woods? That’s where the animals live; they can’t pack their things and go back to their clean and tidy cities? We thought fishing nets were the biggest nightmare. They kill seals, porpoises and birds, which get entangled in them together with the fish. For a while now though we’ve been wondering if the tourists who have no respect for nature aren’t even worse?
Another summer holiday will start in a short while and we would love Hel to be a place where people can be close to nature, where they come to spend several days on the beach, respecting each and every creature. This is the Hel we want to create.

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