A group of divers on Saturday (September 18) held a underwater cleanup drive at a popular diving spot in Batangas Province, as part of the commemoration of World Cleanup Day.
About a dozen divers picked up old diapers, PET bottles, fishing nets and plastic bags stuck on the corals underwater as they scoured the shores for trash.
Organiser Carmela Sevilla said the trash underwater, can kill marine life if left unattended.
“Every diaper or every plastic bag you remove, you will see that you are able to save the coral reef,” she said, “For every fishing line or net that you remove, you could actually prevent a turtle from dying or getting caught in it or eating a plastic bag.”
The trash came after several storms and during the monsoon season, where waste from other parts of the country ended up in beaches and underwater.
Haley Osbourne, a Canadian diver who has been diving for 12 years and has been staying in the Philippines for the past five, hoped that everybody should pick up the trash whenever they see one underwater.
“The thing is, if everybody is able to pick up, then it is not useless. We have quite a large task ahead of us of course, but every little bit helps,” Osbourne said.
A 2021 report by scientific online publication Our World in Data said the majority of ocean plastics around the world originates from rivers and coastlines. Of that component, 81 percent is from Asia, with a third of the Asian plastic coming from the Philippines.
World Cleanup Day is an annual global call aimed at highlighting the issues of solid waste drifting into the sea and is celebrated on the third Saturday of September.