7 beach cleanup groups you can join on your next Philippines trip

Help keep our beaches pristine. The shore near the Jacking Horse surf break in Siargao. Photo by Marija Rathe

Help keep our beaches pristine. The shore near the Jacking Horse surf break in Siargao. Photo by Marija Rathe

There’s a growing number of environment-focused organizations that aim for a plastic-free Philippines, which —according to recent studies — is the third highest plastic waste generator in the world. These groups organize beach clean-up drives, eco-brick projects and support their local government units with the crafting of anti-plastic legislation.

If you’re traveling to the Philippines and would like to volunteer, here are 10 groups you can join within the country’s 7,641 islands:

1. International Coastal Cleanup

International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the world’s largest volunteer movement, with the participation of more than 90 countries around the world. In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific Air — along with volunteers in Manila and Cebu — joined the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup as part of CEB’s Juan Effect campaign. You may also volunteer for local coastal cleanup projects via ICC Zambales. icczambales.comfb.com/OceanConservancy

2. Plastic Free Bohol and Plastic Free Boracay

The Bohol-based group regularly organizes cleanups in Panglao, and recently expanded the drive to include more towns including Anda and Dauis. The Boracay-based group holds weekly cleanups every Sunday at 6:00AM by Willy’s Rock in Station 1, and go all the way to the end of Station 3. fb.com/PlasticFreeBohol; fb.com/plasticfreeboracaymovement

3. Reef Nomads

This group offers guided tours and lessons in skin diving, which is a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. But they also promote environmentalism. Their profits go to marine conservation projects, and they actively turning each dive into a cleanup, where they pick up litter from the deep ocean. fb.com/ReefNomads

4. Save Philippine Seas

Save Philippine Seas founder Anna Oposa

Save Philippine Seas’s  ‘advocasea’ is to engage, educate and empower people on two main advocacies: shark conservation and community empowerment. Led by marine conservationist Anna Oposa, the organization runs programs including A-B-Seas, which is an experiential learning activity, where participants get to help clean up the beach and go snorkelling while learning about marine ecosystems over four weekends. fb.com/savephilippineseas

5. SEA (Siargao Environmental Awareness) Movement

Marja Abad
Marja Abad, co-founder of the Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement. Photo by Marija Rathe

This Siargao-based group aims to protect the surfing capital of the Philippines from pollution and keep it sustainable despite the island’s growing popularity. There are several environmental groups in Siargao; SEA Movement, led by Marja Abad, patrols the beaches is on Saturdays from 4:00pm, and participants will also get learn more about how to take care of nature. Meet up place is at the Greenhouse in the General Luna city center fb.com/seamovementph

6. Sali Sa Alon (Join the Wave)

A volunteer group that was established in early 2018, Sali Sa Alon is starting within the busy cities. They’ve organized cleanups and educational campaigns in urban locations like the Bonifacio Global City in Manila, and we’re looking forward to seeing their campaigns reach the shorelines. fb.com/salisaalon

7. The Plastic Solution

The brainchild of Circle Hostel, The Plastic Solution is one of the first groups to spread the word about eco-bricks in the Philippines. While their focus is educating Filipinos about the zero-waste lifestyle and teaching people how to properly stuff eco-bricks, they also organize beach cleanups, especially in Circle Hostel’s three branches—Baler, La Union, and Zambales. fb.com/theplasticsolution; fb.com/thecirclehostel

Written by

Kate Alvarez

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