Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan and Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Al O. Orolfo media guesting interview in UNTV’s Good Morning Kuya and Radyo Pilipinas COVID-19PH Radio program respectively on Tuesday, 8 September 2020, to start the campaign for the “Safe Oceans Start At Home” theme of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) 2020.

Director Caancan and Assistant Director Orolfo discussed how different the 35th staging of the ICC in Metro Manila will be this year, with quarantine protocols in place. “There will be no mass gathering”, Director Caancan assured. “DENR National Capital Region will not invite volunteers this year. Instead, we will limit the participants of the ICC to our employees. We would also ensure that public health and safety protocols are observed during the cleanup.”

Previous celebrations of the ICC in Metro Manila have attracted thousands of volunteers. During the 2019 ICC celebrations for example, close to 12,000 volunteers—spread in six (6) cleanup sites in Metro Manila—participated in the cleanup.

Aside from the smaller number of participants, this year’s conduct of the ICC will also be different in another sense. According to Assistant Director Orolfo, the participants in the ICC will be using Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell mobile app in the conduct of the waste audit. “The conduct of a waste audit is what distinguishes the ICC from regular cleanups,” Assistant Director Orolfo explained. “During ICC, the waste collected from our waterways are sorted out, itemized, and recorded in the Trash Data Form provided. The results are then compiled and submitted to Ocean Conservancy, the US-based non-profit organization which started the ICC.”

The app—which is available for free download at Google Play and Apple Store—will replace the printed Trash Data Form, making it more convenient for volunteers as it allows them to submit their cleanup data directly to the online database of Ocean Conservancy. “We will go paperless this year”, Director Caancan emphasized.

The app also eliminates the need for cleanup coordinators, making it possible for volunteers to conduct mini-cleanups in their backyard or waterways near their homes. “You don’t need to go to Manila Bay to participate in the ICC, with Clean Swell, you can do cleanups, alone or in small groups, wherever you are in Metro Manila, and record your participation”, Director Caancan clarified.

Director Caancan also directed employees who work from home to do a cleanup in their backyard or community using the app. “We need to continuously affirm our commitment to the cleanup of Manila Bay and we can do this by starting at home, in keeping with our theme for the 2020 ICC”. The ICC will be held on September 19, 2020.