We recently took some time to regroup and headed off to the Philippines. While we were visiting our new favorite island, Siargao, we noticed an unsightly amount of trash washed up on the shore near our Airbnb in General Luna at Tao de Libertad. Hermit crabs danced around discarded flip flops, starfish suckered onto broken beer bottles, and batches of fish eggs were found in once-used plastic bottles.
Our Airbnb host informed us that trash often washes up because there is no seawall, but this wasn't a good enough excuse for us. If a seawall were to stop the trash from entering the beach areas, then wouldn't rubbish stay stuck in the ocean anyway? It was a good thing that we were able to witness horrid waste on the otherwise beautiful beaches. It taught us just how important it is to limit single-use items, to think twice before throwing something away, and it further reinforced our mission of protecting our oceans.
After grabbing a reusable tote (which had ironically washed up onto the shore,) we did as FloaTea does: we got to work cleaning the beach. After a few hours we collected an astounding five tote bags worth of trash!
Our airbnb host was incredibly grateful because she was able to exchange the recyclables for rice to feed her husband and toddler. We found out that Siargao has an awesome beach cleaning incentive program where every 1 kilogram of plastic bottles can be exchanged for 1 liter of rice. We also thought it was great that the locals had reused old rice bags to create our reusable totes. Bravo, Siargao!