Ocean Currents » ICC http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:32:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Trashing Paradise: The Case of the Philippines http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/16/trashing-paradise-the-case-of-the-philippines/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/16/trashing-paradise-the-case-of-the-philippines/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:00:42 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9864

A guest blog by Andrew Wynne

An island archipelago nation laying in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is commonly known for its idyllic beaches, rugged volcanic interior, routine natural disasters, and amicable people. But perhaps less known is the battle against solid waste that is currently enveloping the country. I spent two and a half years on the front lines of this battle as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and can attest to what a study published just last week in the respected journal Science found; the Philippines, along with a small number of other developing countries, is a major vector for plastics and other debris flowing into the global ocean.

With the vast majority of the population and economy tied to the coastline, managing solid waste is exasperating already stressed resources and forcing individuals into economically inefficient ways of making a living that strain the coastal environment. In addition, the Philippines’ location in the western Pacific Ocean likely leads to the transportation of waste around the globe, thereby affecting everyone from local barangays to American coastal cities.

The fundamental issue is how to solve this large and growing problem on land, and in doing so, protect the ocean from the harm that debris causes. The Philippine government has adopted a number of laws needed to help mitigate solid waste.  The problem is these laws and product bans don’t work well if community members don’t understand the consequences of their actions or know why these policies were designed. This lack of awareness about solid waste and its effects on local waterways and the ocean is ultimately crippling the Philippines’ national process to confront the problem. To stem it nationwide, a concerted effort is needed from the ground-up, one that actively involves community members in the discussion.

I recently returned from Tabaco City, Albay, a port city in Southern Luzon facing the Pacific, where I was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer working on coastal resource management. After seeking input from local leaders and experts, I worked with Bicol University Tabaco Campus (BUTC) and Dean Plutomeo Nieves to develop and launch the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program.

Begun in January 2014, this three-year program has been using a participatory, community-based approach to address solid waste management, improve river water and habitat sustainability, and thereby protect our ocean. Local students and youth representatives are both the facilitators and target audience; the program seeks to empower them to initiate action, repair existing degradation, and be leaders in sustaining their local ecosystems for future generations.

Thus far, 36 BUTC students have facilitated a community needs assessment amongst almost 300 local households. The students interviewed residents and sought information related to solid waste management practices, community involvement, and river usage. River water quality testing and cleanup events are ongoing, and future program activities will include educational campaigns to inform and educate the community and the establishment of a Bantay Ilog, or “river watch team.”  With this groundwork in place, the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program hopes to facilitate the co-management efforts needed for future urban river sustainability and solid waste management in Tabaco City.

With proactive national and provincial policies, local awareness and activism, and financial resources to build a foundation of leadership, we can take the next step in stemming the flow of debris in the rivers and coastal environment of the Philippines.  This will be one small step in solving the global problem of plastics pollution in the ocean identified last week in Science. While it is troubling that the scientists found that the Philippines is a major source of ocean trash, efforts such as the Save the Rivers, Save the Sea Program can be a model for how other local communities can contribute to a global effort to protect the oceans from the threat of land-based debris.

About Andrew Wynne

Andrew Wynne is a graduate student in Environmental Studies at the University of Charleston, South Carolina and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. He served in the Philippines (2012-2014) as a Coastal Resource Management Advisor, and hopes to continue to educate and inspire others to create healthy coastal environments. A SCUBA diver and former college athlete, Andrew lives an active lifestyle fueled by travel and exploration, but never strays too far from the water.

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International Coastal Cleanup Day 2014 http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/30/international-coastal-cleanup-day-2014/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/30/international-coastal-cleanup-day-2014/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:58:13 +0000 Michelle Frey http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9293 Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers all around the world remove trash from their local beaches and shorelines for the International Coastal Cleanup. View some of the photos we collected from the 2014 Cleanup.

Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Elyse Butler Mallams/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Elyse Butler Mallams/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy costas 014 ]]>
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Putting a Lid on Ocean Trash http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/22/putting-a-lid-on-ocean-trash/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/22/putting-a-lid-on-ocean-trash/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:06:40 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9263

This weekend, we wrapped up another fantastic International Coastal Cleanup. Thank you so much to all of our volunteers and supporters who came out to make a difference for our ocean.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out all over the world to clean up their local beaches and waterways. We’ve collected our favorite photos, tweets and Instagram pictures to share some our favorites from around the globe. Check out our Storify below!

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the International Coastal Cleanup. I am so grateful to have allies like you joining me in the fight against marine debris. While beach cleanups alone can’t solve the ocean trash problem, they are an integral piece to the overall solution.

If you weren’t able to join us for the International Coastal Cleanup, you can still make a difference. Take our Skip the Straw Challenge and help prevent plastic straws from entering our ocean.

 


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Will We See You Tomorrow at the 29th Annual International Coastal Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/19/will-we-see-you-tomorrow-at-the-29th-annual-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/19/will-we-see-you-tomorrow-at-the-29th-annual-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:00:44 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9248

Photo: Ocean Conservancy

The 29th annual International Coastal Cleanup is tomorrow! I’m extremely excited to see the amazing impact volunteers will have – and I can only image all the weird items we’ll find on our beaches.

Marine debris isn’t an ocean problem – it’s a people problem. That means people are the solution. More than 648,000 volunteers cleaned almost 13,000 miles of beaches and shorelines last year alone. That massive effort collectively removed 12.3 million pounds of trash worldwide!

You can be part of this marine debris solution by joining us tomorrow! A great way to turn the tide on trash is to sign up to clean up your local beach, shoreline or park as part of this year’s International Coastal Cleanup. Preventing the trash we find on beaches and shorelines from ever entering the ocean isn’t the only way of making our seas trash free. However, it’s an important step to protecting endangered animals that are threatened by marine debris.

You can also join the 25,000 people taking the Last Straw Challenge. Every time you’re at a sit down restaurant, tell your waiter to hold the straw. You can help prevent 5 million plastic straws from entering our ocean and landfills by not using a straw when you go out to eat.

Plastic pollution poses a significant threat. Plastics fragment in the ocean and become bite-sized pieces that marine life can accidentally consume. This can cause digestive problems for ocean animals and even death. Spending some time cleaning your beach can have an amazing impact on marine life like sea turtles and seals.

If you can’t join us tomorrow, it’s okay. Cleaning up beaches and shorelines isn’t just a one-day affair. The most important thing you can do when you go to the beach is to leave it just as you found it – or leave it in an even better condition for your next trip. Cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and straws all make the top 10 most collected items of trash we find during the International Coastal Cleanup. You can be an ocean champion every day by collecting any trash you find out of place.

If you’re at a Cleanup site tomorrow, we want to hear from you! Tweet us your ICC experience by using #2014CleanUp. If you find something weird, tweet or Instagram a picture of it using #WeirdFinds.

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Two Days Until the International Coastal Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/18/two-more-days-until-the-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/18/two-more-days-until-the-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:31:37 +0000 Jackie Yeary http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9242

The International Coastal Cleanup is only two days away! We can’t wait to see all of you at your local beaches and waterways this weekend! You can check out our map to find the cleanup location nearest you, if you haven’t already.

If you’re planning on coming to the cleanup, we recommend that you wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and a hat. If you have work gloves or a bucket, feel free to bring them along, but our Cleanup Coordinators will provide any other supplies you may need.

If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag your posts with #2014Cleanup so we can see all of the great work you’re doing! And if you find anything cool or unusual, send us a photo tagged #WeirdFind. We’ll be sharing some of our favorites on our social media channels!

We’re so grateful that you’ll be joining us for the 29th annual International Coastal Cleanup! It’s an important part of solving our ocean trash problem. Thank you again for signing up– and we’ll see you at the beach on Saturday!

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Growing the New York State Cleanup to 6,000 Volunteers http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/16/growing-the-new-york-state-cleanup-to-6000-volunteers/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/16/growing-the-new-york-state-cleanup-to-6000-volunteers/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:25:32 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9228

Photo: Mat Szwajkos/Aurora Photos

This blog is part of a series of stories about the International Coastal Cleanup from Coordinators. This blog was written by Natalie Grant, a Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup in New York.

I am honored to be the New York State Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup. Coordinating New York State’s participation in this annual event is such a rewarding task! I find it thrilling each year when new volunteers sign up to help clean our shorelines and make a difference for the future of not only marine mammals but also our children and our communities.

Approximately 15 years ago, I first began my involvement with the Cleanup as a volunteer. This initial experience was such a positive one that I continued to volunteer each year. Eventually, I became a beach captain, recruiting new participants and volunteers to clean a shoreline in my community. I lived in a waterfront community and learned first-hand the dire problem of marine debris and knew how important this annual event is to New York State and to the waterways and shorelines worldwide.

Soon, I began to assume additional roles such as gathering the resulting data, maintaining databases, and shipping supplies. After several years, the long-time State Coordinator announced that she was retiring. I knew I wanted to continue helping and become the State Coordinator for New York. For the past few years, I have diligently worked to increase participation and expand the number of sites. I have maintained long and loyal relationships with our beach captains and I am very proud that they return every year to clean the beaches and shorelines in their communities. Many also “adopt” their shoreline, returning throughout the year to maintain the site. I am very proud that we have grown this grass roots event from 4 shorelines and 100 volunteers in 1986 to 157 shorelines with over 5,900 volunteers cleaning 173 miles in 2013.

This year mark’s my fourth year as the Cleanup Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup. Each year, I try to solicit the help of more and more volunteers to remove debris miles of shorelines across the State of New York. For the 2014 Beach Cleanup, I am thrilled to have 194 beach captains set to host thousands of volunteers.

New York’s participation in the International Coastal Cleanup is sponsored and funded by the American Littoral Society’s Northeast Chapter. 2015 will mark the American Littoral Society’s 30th year in the International Coastal Cleanup. I find myself already planning for that historic event!

Will you join us on September 20, 2014? Check out Ocean Conservancy’s map to find a cleanup location near you?

Other blogs in this series:

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Dedicated Coordinators Expand Beach Cleanups in Mexico http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/11/dedicated-coordinators-expand-beach-cleanups-in-mexico/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/11/dedicated-coordinators-expand-beach-cleanups-in-mexico/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:39:34 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9208

Photo: Alejandra Lopez

This blog is part of a series of stories about the International Coastal Cleanup from Coordinators. This blog was written by Alejandra Lόpez de Román, a Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the first time I organized and coordinated the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve felt and learned during all these years.

The way I became engaged with the ICC was fortuitous because I was invited by an instructor from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to do an underwater cleanup that was not affiliated with Ocean Conservancy at the time. The water conditions were not appropriate for diving, so we did a beach cleanup instead. We found so much trash that I thought we should do this more often and invite many more people!

My instructor was very busy so I organized the next cleanup, inviting people from the Club de Regatas Corona, and family and friends.  I eventually connected with Ocean Conservancy because I wanted Tampico and Tamaulipas (my state) to be a part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Since then, our Cleanup has grown exponentially in Tampico: from a handful of volunteers in 2003 to 1,233 registered volunteers in 2013! Our best move has been to invite high school and university students. We motivate students with talks about what Ocean Conservancy does, the damage marine debris causes our ocean, and the need to ACT NOW before it´s too late. Of course one of the best ways of acting is by joining forces with hundreds of thousands of other volunteers to participate!

Will you join us on September 20, 2014? Check out Ocean Conservancy’s map to find a cleanup location near you.

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