Keeping El Nido Cleano
The process of organising a cleanup - either underwater or a simple beach cleanup can seem a little daunting at the beginning.
Will people turn up? Does anyone care? Do we have the correct tools? Will this make any difference?
We had all these questions when organising a big beach cleanup with Green Nido in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. It stretched over a few different beaches and covered approximately 2km.
Green Nido is a non-profit organisation started by local dive centres and business owners who wanted to help (as our catchy slogan suggests..) 'Keeping El Nido Cleano'.
Working in and around the town we knew many locals who either worked within the dive centres as dive masters or instructors or local we had got to know over the over the years.
In the end, we had the Navy, the Police, Firefighters, the Coast Guard, local schools, the entire staff of the local Mexican restaurant and the deputy major all turn up on the day!
On the day we started with a short speech by an English speaker, followed by a Tagalog speaker (Philippine language) to explain the right kind of things to collect. We suggested people work in pairs – one person with gloves to pick up trash and one to hold the rice bag (biodegradable, of course).
It was really an impressive number of people collecting trash, and more importantly as we passed by, locals saw what we were doing and they joined in!
This was the first event by Green Nido and it was amazing to see how the locals were really excited to help. Some basic trash cans were placed in the most effected areas and trash collection was organised to keep the idea going.
Sometimes we have storms for a prolonged period, the beaches gert very dirty, and you can hear the tourists saying to each other that its so sad the locals don’t respect where they live.
But after a few underwater and beach cleanups we have found that most of the trash is actually from China, Malaysia or Indonesia! .
When organising a big clean-up event, make sure there are snacks and drinks. Especially if you are located in a hot sunny area - have a shade and rehydration centre. Also provide trash drop off points so people are not dragging the trash they have picked up for miles!
Have a look at the short video below to see everybody working together and 'Keeping El Nido Cleano'.
What can you do for your local area?
* Simon is a founder of Fisheye Underwater Productions which offer both underwater photographic services and courses for underwater photography and video. They are based in El Nido - to discover more click here