Be the Change You Want to Sea: Check Out the Game-changing Coastal Cleanup Initiatives You Can Join This September

Cebu City Sea Coastal Cleanup
Come one, come all! The sea is waiting for brilliant volunteers to come clean its shores. PNA photo.

Filipinos can now do their part in saving the environment by joining the upcoming coastal cleanups this September. Help celebrate International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day on September 16, 2023, by getting your hands dirty at any of the game-changing projects to save our waters.

The ICC is the world’s largest annual volunteer effort conducted every third Saturday of September that rallies environmentalists all around the world to remove trash from beaches and other bodies of water. With 17 million volunteers at its belt, ICC participants have collected millions of cigarette butts, beverage bottles, and food wrappers that have been harming blue whales and sea turtles. The event was kickstarted by the non-governmental organization Ocean Conservancy over 35 years ago and has since removed more than 350 million pounds of trash worldwide.

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Volunteers are encouraged to form cleanups in their communities and even start small initiatives at their homes, schools, offices, and business establishments. Using the Clean Swell app, local environmental defenders can upload the amount of ocean trash they have collected to Ocean Conservancy’s global database. Here’s one way to join the International Coastal Cleanup:

Following is a list of initiatives and how you can join the ICC in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and several other sites in the Philippines.

Metro Manila International Coastal Cleanup

While many Filipinos take pride in the country’s stunning beaches, it is equally crucial to contribute to their preservation. On September 16, 2023, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) National Capital Region is welcoming volunteers to help clean up the coasts of 10 different destinations. Ready to dive in? Check out the list of sites:

  1. SM By The Bay, Pasay City;
  2. Las Piñas – Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP);
  3. Tanza Marine Tree Park, Navotas City;
  4. Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach;
  5. Shores of Brgys. Tongos North and South, Navotas City;
  6. Tullahan River, Brgy. San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City;
  7. Pasig River (Lawton Ferry Station, Manila);
  8. Baseco Beach, City of Manila;
  9. H20 Hotel, Manila Ocean Park, Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila, and
  10. Back of Solaire, Brgy. Tambo, Parañaque City

Newcomers to coastal cleanups need not worry as representatives from the DENR will brief volunteers. Participants can even bring a friend to the cleanup as all volunteers will be put into teams of at least 5 members each. The groups will then assign a person to encode the type and quality of trash collected.

Volunteers should bring their own cleaning materials, face masks, gloves, pants, closed shoes, water tumblers, and other protective gear. Excited to make a difference? Better sign up before all slots are taken! All environmental enthusiasts can register for any of these coastal cleanups at the link in the tweet below.

Cebu City Cleanup Challenge

Help keep Cebu City sustainable at the 13th Cebu City Wide Cleanup Challenge and 9th National Cleanup Day! Set on September 16, 2023, the National Clean Up Coalition Philippines, SEED4COM, and Full-Force MarketStrat Gateway are holding a coastal cleanup at Cebu South Road Properties starting at 3 p.m. Participants should bring compostable bags, gloves, shovels, rakes, drinking water, face towels, hand sanitizer, cleanup forms, and their fellow Cebuanos!

Volunteers can also participate in the morning cleanup of the city beginning at 6 a.m. To join, interested parties may register in the link the tweet below provides. Alternatively, they can contact Dann Diez at 0956 183 9600, Frances Gatungay at 0905 298 3756, or Enrique San Juan at 0933 532 7652. They may also email or for further inquiries.

Mall-based International Coastal Cleanup

One of Filipinos’ favorite pastimes is strolling around their local malls, but did you know that you could shop, dine, and lend a hand to the environment all at the same place? From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on September 16, 2023, SM Cares leads various coastal cleanups across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These will be held at the following SM malls in the country:

  1. SM by the Bay
  2. SM Tuguegarao
  3. SM Tuguegarao Downtown
  4. SM Bataan
  5. SM Olongapo Central
  6. SM Olongapo Downtown
  7. SM Sorsogon
  8. SM Legazpi
  9. SM Daet
  10. SM Puerto Princesa
  11. SM Roxas
  12. SM Cebu
  13. SM Seaside Cebu
  14. SM Consolacion
  15. SM Mind Pro
  16. SM General Santos

The cleanup destinations will be by the coast of the designated mall; all of which will be approximately 5-30 minutes away. Participants will be briefed on their trash collection duties from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. prior to the cleanup. Volunteers must properly tabulate the waste they have gathered and bring their own alcohol, face mask, pen, and cleaning supplies (such as gloves/tongs/picks).

Interested volunteers may register through the link in the tweet.

Filipinos truly have a heart for their seas. The Ocean Conservancy has reported that the Philippines is in the top 3 of participating countries in the International Coastal Cleanup while 20,000 local volunteers picked up trash along the coast of Manila Bay during the observance of the International Coastal Cleanup Day in the Philippines.

In a world with a changing climate, these events show just how much Filipinos care about nature. Don’t miss out on a chance to make a sustainable future a glistening reality! SHARE this story with your friends who may want to join these upcoming environment-forward events.

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Summer is a political science student with a twin passion for journalism. Her hobbies include watching geography documentaries, searching the metro for plant-based food, and free-falling through Wikipedia rabbit holes. Her works have previously been featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.