We love the ocean here at Savedra! But, as you probably know as an environmentally informed reader, all is not well with the ocean these days. One problem it is facing is simply too much … thrash. Or, rubbish, as the British call it. “Basura” it’s called here in the Philippines. And there is too much of it on the beaches and reefs world-wide. Unsightly plastic bags, cans, fishing line and plastic spoons have no place between corals and sponges underwater or on the sand of a beach.

We believe that every bit of ocean protection helps! And the part of the ocean for which we can make a difference is the coastline right in front of our dive shop. Hence, today we teamed up with the municipality of Moalboal to clean up the ocean above and below the water. We had school children from the area come to Panagsama Beach and do the beach clean up. The kids worked in groups of 10, and the group with the most basura recovered won a snorkel trip on one of our boats, with an on-board barbecue included. We also gave away some raffle tickets to win snorkeling gear!

In some cases human trash can also become a home for marine life, like this cloth for a goby in Negros.

Our dive staff, including myself, did the underwater part of the clean-up. Outfitted with fashionable mesh-bags, we scanned the reef for pieces of Abfall (trash in German). I usually collect small trash items on any regular dive I do, and put these wrappers or plastic forks in my pockets. Oddly, on our planned clean-up dive I didn’t find much basura at all – this was probably due to the strong currents which had swept our house reef in the past few days. Also, my buddies who scanned the reef for rubbish in the shallower parts (less current-swept) recovered more plastic.

So: A pile of thrash removed from the beach and the reef, a group of children enthused for caring for the environment,  and  a beautiful dive on our biodiverse house reef done. All before 10 am. A good way to start the day!

I believe that a lot of the environmental problems the ocean is facing are due to the fact that a lot of people are simply not aware what’s going on! This is one of the things I want to change – one citizen of Planet Earth at a time – with my marine bio courses for interested laypeople at Savedra.