Fighting Ocean plastics with Pro Ocean
Every day a dedicated team set out for the beaches, estuaries and mangrove forests of southern Negros Oriental, Philippines to collect plastic before it can enter our oceans forever. This is our Pro Ocean team working under the auspices of Marine Conservation Philippines. Pro Ocean is a German non-profit ocean conservation organisation committed to combat ocean plastic pollution by conducting daily clean ups, and by collecting any ocean plastic that has washed up on our beaches while also intercepting any waste before it reaches the shore. At the moment of writing we’ve managed to clean up more than 3 millions pieces of plastic in just two years.
It is estimated that more than one million animals die each year because of plastics, whether it is from ingestion, entanglement, or toxic build up of harmful chemicals, and the negative impact has been recorded all over the world. No one is exempt from the dangers of plastic. In 2019 a cuvier beaked whale washed up on the shores of Davao, Philippines, with 88 pounds of rubbish in its stomach causing a slow and painful death. This tragedy prompted the people behind Pro Ocean to create the organisation, and get in touch with us in MCP. Co-founders Bastian and Lukas set out a goal to reduce as much ocean plastics as possible from the province of Negros Oriental. This is made possible by the employing local people to conduct daily clean ups who then dispose of the rubbish appropriately, and recycling as much as possible.
Occasionally some of our international volunteers get to spend a few days helping with the daily clean ups, Ida Lunden from Sweden joined the team last month and got to see how the team worked together to gather and sort as much rubbish as possible. She remarked afterwards it was a “cool and rewarding experience that actually contributed to marine conservation.” She also added that the work definitely was a lot harder than she’d thought, and how it is really impressive how the team does it every day and always with such a positive attitude!
Although beach clean ups are not the final solution to ending marine plastic pollution, it’s a place to start. Preventing plastics from entering nature to begin with is really the end goal and holy grail of the fight against plastics, but cleaning up the damage already done is important too. Just as importantly; It can inspire a change of behavior by those involved both directly and indirectly. Any donations made to Pro Ocean facilitate the permanent employment of the clean team, as well as power the upcoming educational campaign currently being co-created between Pro Ocean and Marine Conservation Philippines. This campaign is set to reach up to 1,600 school children in Zamboanguita and Siaton, and will teach about the importance of mangrove forests and why we should protect them. In future blogs we will follow the children to take a child’s eye view on these forests, and the new school program.