Coastal cleanup is the term used for the initiative to clean debris from the shore and waters of marine life. To say more specifically, on a global scale it is the removal of 16 million pounds of trash along 1300 miles of beaches and inland waterways by 560,000 volunteers across 91 countries. It might be difficult to find a world from the dictionary that can describe the strength of efforts the data depicts in the last sentence. Even after all this, it is even more unbelievable that there still a long way to go before the marine lives are safe from pollution-and the world from the after affects of it. So the efforts need to be catalytic both in picking up the trash and awakening conscience to not throw it in the first place.
Initiated nearly twenty five years ago by the efforts of one woman, International Coastal Cleanup is now the largest global volunteer effort for ocean and waterways by Ocean Conservancy. Ocean Conservancy is an initiative working its way for global solutions in case of marine pollution through volunteer activation, behavioral approach and global discussions with dignitaries. International Coastal Cleanup is not just an occasional program to maintain neatness of the marine beauty, the program has been taken into hand understanding the immense amount of environmental pressure created in the waters and animals of marine life. From simple litters as plastic wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette butts, to seen and unseen or decomposed toxic material from industrial or everyday used subjects- each and every material travels to pollute the marine lives through miles and time, incurring loss in economic health as well as ruins in the ecosystem. This is enough to create a greater extinction list including the existing sensitive species like turtles and dolphins while destroying a huge source of our food, water and oxygen. Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) partners with volunteer organizations and individuals around the world and engages people to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways. They identify the sources and debris and take initiatives to change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place.
Kewkradong Bangladesh is an adventure sports related organization in Bangladesh that will be hosting the Cleanup for its tenth year from September 19 of 2015. Starting its journey from 2000, Kewkradong has been bringing sports like urban and rural trekking, mountaineering and water sports with the aim of gathering local enthusiasm towards adventure, humanitarian and nature-building tourism in Bangladesh. S.M. Muntasir Mamun of Kewkradong has been acting as the Country Coordinator for ICC in Bangladesh since 2006. The organization was first to bring a program for the cleanup of marine debris in the country. Volunteers from all walks of life, majorly including university students, take part in the clean up.
The arrangement is hosted in assistance of the local hotels, institutions, government representative and participation of the people. The plan initiates with the journey to Cox’s Bazaar and then the usual introductions to the people and the whole concept of ocean cleanup. The volunteers participate in a day long cleanup and gather the debris for disposal. As Mr. Mamun says, “For mainland cleanup site, we dispose them at the designated dumping spots, but for Island site, we burn them-which is not also good. But carrying nearly 1200kg of trash to mainland is pretty expensive and there isn’t any designated area.” The past years saw the work end with a feast with the locals or a concert. This year the cleanup will be conducted in four sites : Cox’s Bazar, Inani, Saint Martins and Kuakata. In regards to expenses, Muntasir Mamun explains, “We do arrange the trip for a very limited number of people. This program is free for everyone, no charge needed. But for the logistic, we make a budget and we equally share the cost for the accommodation, transport and food.” Details and contacts can be viewed at their Facebook Event Page.
The data collected on the types and number of debris from each country, including Bangladesh will be utilized for research on the trends of pollution at oceans and for finding their probable solution. So, when volunteers are participating in the cleanup it is not just to add to their credibility in social work, it is a contribution that is changing the world. When pollution by humans travel around the world, so does the positive effects, when the litters are picked up from the ocean ways. In the oceans of this spherical world, what goes around, does certainly, come back around.
Personal Interview of S.M. Muntasir Mamun, Country Coordinator from Kewkradong Bangladesh, International Coastal Cleanup.