Covering 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, the world’s oceans are the largest producers of fresh drinking water through their essential role in the water cycle, regulate the planet’s temperature by absorbing solar radiation, and provide habitat for phytoplankton that produce half of all oxygen in the atmosphere.
Yet, the Earth’s oceans are being contaminated by the ever-growing amounts of pollutants, with an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris currently in the ocean, the majority beneath the surface. Plastics and associated toxins threaten the oceans’ ecosystems, with deadly consequences for seabirds, fish and marine animals, as well as humans.
To contribute to vital ocean health and raise environmental awareness, some 7,000 students and volunteers from 15 colleges and universities joined a massive coastal cleanup drive along Manila Bay in the Philippines on February 7, 2016.
Aside from garbage removal, volunteers recorded information on the environmental status of the Manila Bay, which will be distributed to government offices, corporations and communities to assist in the development of better waste management policies and smart packaging designs, and encourage the involvement of the general public in further rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
The cleanup drive was co-organized by Global Peace Foundation Philippines, Philippine Society of NSTP Educators and Implementers, and the City of Manila in partnership with Philippine Coastguard.
The program was also held in conjunction with the Global Youth Summit, an international assembly hosted by the Global Peace Foundation Philippines, aimed at inspiring and raising moral and innovative young leaders that contribute to sustainable peace.