About a dozen Filipino divers cleared plastic waste from the coral reefs and nearby beaches in Batangas as they marked World Clean Up Day on September 18.
The divers pulled plastic bags, drink bottles, and fishing nets joining the annual clean-up that aims to highlight the impact of garbage on the world’s ocean. Batangas is known for many beautiful beaches and is one of the most popular spots for snorkelling and diving, which is prone to plastic waste. (Read: Wow, the World’s Tallest Mama Mary Statue Is in Batangas!)
A helpful initiative for our environment
“For every fishing line or net that you remove, you could actually prevent a turtle from dying or getting caught in it or eating a plastic bag,” organizer Carmela Sevilla said via Reuters.
Another participant, Haley Osbourne, a Canadian who lived in the Philippines for five years, said that all divers should do their bit by picking up any rubbish they come across while underwater.
The Filipino divers who gathered and joined the World Clean Up Day initiative are individuals who advocate for marine conservation and raise awareness on the alarming plastic pollution in the country.
The worsening plastic pollution
According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, at least 100 million marine mammals die from plastic pollution every year, including turtles, dolphins, whales, sea lions, and even sea birds. These animals usually ingest plastics and get tangled in plastics they encounter in the ocean. (Read: A community effort with over 600 divers breaks the world record for the ‘largest underwater cleanup’)
Meanwhile, the World Bank Group 2021 Market Study for the Philippines: Plastics Circularity Opportunities and Barriers. East Asia and Pacific Region Marine Plastics Series stated that mismanaged plastic waste has growing economic and environmental consequences.
The study also revealed that globally, between 4.8 million to 12.7 million tons of plastic leak into the oceans each year, with Asia contributing over 80 percent.
“The Philippines is the third-largest contributor with an estimated 0.75 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic entering the ocean every year,” the study noted.
World Clean Up Day
The World Clean Up Day is an annual global movement that aims to combat plastic pollution across the world, uniting 180 countries for a “cleaner planet.” It is usually held in the third week of September.
Volunteers, environmental advocates, youth groups, and other organizations and partners participate in clean-up drives, raise awareness on waste pollution, and tackle solutions through different events and initiatives. (Read: Can the world’s ‘largest ocean cleanup’ save our planet?)
If you want to participate or get informed about the alarming plastic pollution in the country, you may visit this website.