International Coastal Clean Up Day 2018
As part of over 100 countries tackling marine trash for International Coastal Clean Up day, MCP spent a Saturday doing our part with local communities in four locations along the southern coast of Negros Oriental. After typhoon Mangkhut delayed the International Coastal Clean Up day, all our volunteers and staff were fired up to make a difference a week later than originally planned. Four teams of MCPeople were deployed down the coast at the Science High School in Zamboanguita, two of our dive sites – Basak and Guinsuan , and in the local city of Dumaguete.
At Basak, Helle, Paige, Hildur, Pernille and Lani were joined by 25 locals who were highly motivated and had already cleaned half the beach when MCP arrived at 7am! It was very clear they really cared. An astonishing 240 kilos of trash was collected and the sorting was conducted by teenagers and children, assigned to individual categories, speeding round collecting all the metal caps, plastic caps and straws. It was a good family orientated day and all of the parents turned up to watch the sorting.
In Guinsuan, we had Tadhg, Angela, Verena, Laura, Delphine, Annie and Mathias representing MCP. A score of children from the local school had already collected all the trash so we all sorted it together by the guard house for the Marine Protected Area. High motivation levels meant that the 60 kilos of collected trash was sorted very quickly! The distinctive purple halo-halo ice cream was enjoyed as an after clean-up treat.
In Dumaguete, Camille, Izzy, Sif, Harry, Esther, Kasper, Sarah, Aliya, Sophie, Carolina, Tess, Glenn and Lysanne were helped by students from the University of St Paul and Perpetual Help Community Cooperative (PHCCI). Together, they cleaned three local beaches, Piapi, Looc and Bantayan. Over the course of the morning, they collected a huge amount of trash and managed to sort 150 kilos of it amounting to 7685 pieces! Only a quarter of the trash was sorted so the total collected was in the region of 600 kilos! They had a hard time with a lot of syringes, broken glass, human waste and a long dead rat. Certain locals were shocked at the trash but had other priorities, others thought they shouldn’t clean citing the municipal cleaners and some were indifferent. It was a good opportunity for the children and students to get exposure to the level of waste in the area as, of course, they will be the future leaders one day. The team felt did good work and made a significant dent in the problem.
At the Zamboanguita Science High School we had Sarah, Cecille, Wanying and 10 students from the school. With the super heavy rain, expectations for local kids turning out was low but 45 showed up! The kids, ranging from 9th – 12th grade were spilt into trash category groups, hyped up to do a beach clean and they all cleaned the beach near the school. The pre-beach clean motivational speech went a little too well and they sped down the beach picking up all the big pieces they could find. After advice to gather a little slower to find all the small pieces, an excellent job was done all round and everyone helped each other picking up other categories and giving it to the right person, despite the downpour of cold rain. In 30 minutes over 100 kilos of trash was collected! Back at the school, everyone huddled in a busy little shelter and sorted it all out which was a little chaotic but a lot of fun. A 12th grader was responsible for recording the numbers and weights of the trash. After the sorting was done, the kids had to leave sharpish for they had a birthday to get to, which shows how dedicated they were to do the beach clean!
All the trash was sorted using the Ocean Conservancy format and all the data was uploaded using the Ocean Conservancy app to contribute to their global beach clean-up database. The Ocean Conservancy has a “Trash Free Seas” program where they mobilise the yearly beach clean (which they started in 1986!), research and spread ocean trash knowledge and lobby policy makers and businesses to reduce marine trash pollution.
In total, similar to last year, MCP and the community groups we worked with collected more than half a ton of garbage from beaches, all in just one day.