Make your efforts count as the largest volunteer activity in the world devoted to cleanup oceans and waterways will be celebrated in a different way this month amid the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease.

IMG 4108 1024x617 - Celebrate ICC through mobile cleanup app — DENR-NCR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) said the pandemic has prevented them from organizing coastal cleanup activities for volunteers to celebrate the 35th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day on Sept. 19.

But one does not need to go to coastal areas to participate in the ICC. The DENR-NCR urged Metro Manila residents to cleanup in their own homes, backyard, or community.

“Yes, you can still participate in the ICC and contribute to the cleanup of Manila Bay and other waterways right at the safety of your home,” the DENR-NCR said.

This can be done by using Clean Swell, the mobile application developed by international non-government organization Ocean Conservancy to help volunteers easily record and directly upload each item of trash they collect.

Simply download the app, which is available for free on both Android and iOS devices and create an account. Once an account has been created and you have your cleaning tools with you, you can start cleaning up right away.

The mobile app also allows the user to record and audit the type and number of trash collected and submit it to the marine debris database.

The database is used by scientists, conservation groups, governments, and industry leaders to study ocean trash and take action to ensure trash will never reach beaches.

“We only need to clean our house and ensure that our trash does not end up in Manila Bay through the practice of waste reduction and segregation-at-source. Indeed, safe oceans do start at home. So if we want a clean Manila Bay, we must practice cleanliness in our house and immediate community,” the DENR-NCR said.

Held every third Saturday of September, the ICC began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their respective coastlines.

The Philippines started participating in the ICC in 1994 when volunteers were only 3,000 and were spread among six provinces to cover 76 kilometers of water bodies. They were able to recover 9,469 kilos of marine debris at the time.

In 2003, the third Saturday of September was officially declared as the International Coastal Cleanup Day pursuant to Proclamation No. 470.

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