Hong Kong/Manila – Each year, an estimated 11 billion pounds (approximately 5 metric tons) of plastic enters the ocean, 80% of which starts out on land, according to The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Floating trash has no geographic or political boundaries, so solutions must involve scalable international collaboration, yet be local in scope and reach. On September 20th, 2015, the Sustainable Energy and Enterprise Development for Communities (SEED4COM), the national convener for the “Let’s Do It Philippines” movement, will be partnering with the international NGO, Ocean Recovery Alliance, and their powerful online trash mapping tool called Global (www.globalalert.org). This mobile application for the mapping of trash hotspots which contribute to water and ocean pollution, will be a big asset to the volunteers who are part of the Let’s Do It Philippines Clean Up Campaign.
SEED4COM and its Let’s Do It Philippines event will be organizing thousands of residents across all of the Philippines, to help clean the country. This enormous task, with a goal of having over 5,000,000 volunteers on the day, will be supported by the innovative online tool and mobile app, Global Alert, allowing users to report, rate and map plastic pollution levels in their rivers, along ocean coastlines, as well as underwater on reefs. This will give the volunteer teams from Let’s Do It Philippines a better understanding of where the areas of focus should be during the cleanup event. The tool is the most powerful mapping system that exists today which can bring about reduced impact of trash in our waters by broadening awareness, aggregating information for decision-making, and spurring solutions to reduce plastic in the world’s rivers, and accumulating on our coastlines.
Plastic pollution impacts all of us, and because it does not readily biodegrade, it is now found in waters and virtually all parts of the ocean. Litter and waste hurts tourism, fishing, water quality and adds to the waste burden of cities and municipalities. “We are excited to be working with Let’s Do It Philippines volunteers on their first simultaneous National Clean-up Day campaign. This is happening with no funding, and just solely relying the volunteerism spirit of the Filipinos through social media, having friends inspire friends with a simple and clear goal to cleanup a large volume of litter and waste. Our Global Alert platform can enable community participation for reporting and problem solving, catalyzing active watershed stewardship focusing on rivers and coastlines, and raising current levels better caretaking in each community,” said Doug Woodring, Co-Founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance. “The Global Alert platform is something that all of us can use within our own local communities in order to be part of the solution. The sum of all the parts will help to bring broad-based improvements on a global scale, and it is great to have the Philippines showing such leadership in this space,” he said.
Not only can people use the platform to report trash hotspots, but they can also report areas that have been cleaned, by showing photos on the site after the clean-up has taken place. People can also use the platform year- round, so that stakeholders in any given district can use the data to help the reduction of plastic pollution reaching our waters. Community groups can then develop better recycling programs and plastic management strategies, ultimately leading to less floating trash making its way to the ocean.
About the Ocean Recovery Alliance
Ocean Recovery Alliance is a 501c3 registered charitable organization in Hong Kong, and a non-profit entity in California. Ocean Recovery Alliance focus is on ocean protection, and strives to take a lead with a variety of existing stakeholders, leveraging each of their qualities and institutional capacities when needed, while combining forces with the business and technology sectors. The group is the first NGO to be working with both UNEP and the World Bank, and part of the Global Alert platform has been funded by the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans. In June 2014, Ocean Recovery Alliance launched a world-first report on the natural capital cost of plastic with Trucost and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi.