Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ocean Cleanup

This past weekend I covered the cleanup on Manila Bay here in the Philippines, part of an around the world ocean cleanup day organized by Ocean Conservancy.

The Cleanup began in 1986 in Texas and in 1989 the Cleanup went global with the addition of Mexico and Canada. Since then, the International Coastal Cleanup has grown to become the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean. Last year alone, nearly 400,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries removed up 6.8 million pounds of trash at 6,485 sites along beaches, rivers, lakes and streams as well as below the water’s surface.

It was amazing to see the effort put into the day by so many people. Sadly the results, as good as they were, seemed hopeless as I watched another line of trash move in on an incoming tide just as the cleanup was finishing up.

Before the cleanup began you can see the amount of trash on the shoreline.

Just a fraction of the people helping Saturday.

The Philippine Coast Guard was on hand to help.


A new line of trash can be seen close to the horizon as it moves in with the incoming tide just as the cleanup is finished.

Marine debris (ocean trash) is more than an eyesore; it is a potential threat to our food supply, to tourism and economic activity, to marine wildlife and ecosystems, and to our own personal health and safety. It even relates to the ocean’s resilience and ability to adapt to the onset of climate change.