A TOTAL of 1,609 kilograms or about 1.6 tons of garbage were picked Friday, September 20, from the Panagsama Beach in Moalboal, Cebu in what was considered the biggest coastal cleanup in town.
The cleanup, organized by Johan Blixt of Neptune Diving Adventure and as part of the activities lined up by Project AWARE Foundation, gathered around 116 people, excluding divers from different resorts in Moalboal, a southern town in Cebu.
“It was very successful. Everybody did a great job; all 116 people from Panagsama Beach,” said one of the organizers and PADI instructor Tomas Jonsson in an email to Sun.Star.
PADI, or Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is considered the world’s leading scuba diving training organization.
Among those who joined the coastal cleanup Saturday were 50 pupils from Moalboal elementary school. Armed with bags, they collected about 200 kilos of garbage, mostly plastic.
“They came down to the beach and filled their bags with big smiles on their faces…Hopefully, this will be something they remember and learn from,” Jonsson said.
Collecting the most garbage from the beach and underwater were members of the SeaQuest dive shop who gathered around 390 kilos of trash.
Jonsson said that of the things collected by the participants, the most “disturbing” was a partly decomposed shark without fins.
“It had been stripped from its fins and dumped back into the ocean. This means that there is shark finning happening in the Philippines…The fins are valuable, but the meat is useless. It is not worth bringing back to the fish market. The shark is still alive when the fins are cut off,” he said.
Jonsson thanked all those who participated in the activity. “It could never have happened without everybody contributing with whatever they could.”
“Caring for the environment is usually boring, and it doesn't have to be. It can be fun and educating. It can be exciting and rewarding,” he added.
The cleanup was capped with a small party. “There was a live band and lots of happy faces,” said Jonsson.