A painting to persuade reflection – how green is your coastal cleanup?

Organising a coastal cleanup is a noble action – participants unburden a habitat of marine trash. When we further highlight the biodiversity of a site, after a cleanup, they are gladdened by the realisation of the specific creatures they have helped with this immediate action!

Sensitivity when working in a precious habitat is critical – so we prepare participants to minimise impact in our mangrove cleanups by avoiding seedlings, small crabs and other marine life as they move about. We never need to run and move slowly and steadily instead!

Now, a well-meaning, enthusiastic but new Organiser may inadvertently generate more trash than their participants manage to clean off their beach site! To help them avoid this, we suggest a few ideas to Organisers at the ICCS workshop and in the final email before the cleanup:

  1. Have participants bring their own water bottles – this reduces waste generation by the disposal of single use plastic bottles. Bottled NEWater may be freely available for distribution but are too small for the physical exertion of a 90-minute cleanup. This means providing several bottles of NEWater per person and should definitely be avoided!
  2. Avoid catering food in disposal containers like styrofoam or other plastic. Sure we love to eat but this can generate more trash than you might remove from a beach! Which then makes us wonder, how about “reduce”?
  3. Single-use banners with a lengthy date printed boldly is only useable for one year. To ensure reuse, just print the year or leave an empty slot for the year. A creative paint-over will do the trick! Even better, and much easier is to add a digital banner to the group photo later!
  4. How green is your cleanup

    Intern Becky Lee has added a visual touch to the usual message this year – she has provided us with this poster to email our ICCS 2015 Organisers. We certainly hope this painting will encourage everyone to adopt an environmental-friendly cleanup on Saturday, 19th September 2015 – the expectation is clear!

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