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Volunteerism key to coastal clean up and pollution prevention
16 September 2007

Tacloban City, Philippines: On Saturday, September 15, thousands of people descended on beaches, lakes, streams to remove trash and debris. Volunteers of all ages from various sectors formed the largest one-day volunteer event.

Coastal clean up isn't just about pollution clean up, it is also pollution prevention. People must be made aware that there will be no trashes to pick if people in the first place will not throw wastes especially the non-biodegradable ones any where much less on the beach where the waves will wash the wastes to the sea.

What makes any Coastal Clean Up unique is its debris collection component and sustainability. More focus is given on the non-biodegradable trash. The event focuses on educating and empowering people to become a part of the marine debris solution.

Information available must be used to educate the public, business, industry and government officials about the problem of pollution prevention. It is believed that understanding the problem is the key to finding long-lasting solutions.

People must be informed that a report on the conduct of a study of plastic marine garbage identifies plastics as the number one marine debris hazard.

Among the results of the study is that a plywood that enters the sea decomposes only after three years.

A cigarette butt that entered the ocean in 1986, starts to decompose in 1991 which is five years after.

A Styrofoam cup that enters the ocean decomposes only after eighteen years while it takes fifty years for a tin can to decompose.

If one thinks it is shocking to know that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle that enters the sea to decompose, wait till he is informed that it takes one million years for a glass bottle that enters the ocean to decompose.

The Philippines has 18,000 kilometer coastline that lies in the central tropic marine bio-diversity of the world, thus there is a need for volunteers to clean up along the coast or under sea.

Coastal Clean Ups will not only promote recognition and facilitation of volunteerism. More so, it will show that volunteerism activity when properly managed could play a vital role in addressing environmental issues, pollution prevention and human development in general.