The Protected Area Management Board of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) approved the proposal of One Earth-One Ocean (OEOO) to deploy its waste collection ship, the “Circular Explorer” (inset photo), in Manila Bay to help in the cleanup and recovery of plastic materials and other trash, particularly on the shores of the LPPWP.
The proposal was presented by Daniel Scheler, OEOO Philippines Project Manager, during the second quarterly meeting of the LPPWP PAMB on Friday, 3 June 2022, at the Wave Activity Center. He said that the Circular Explorer is the latest waste collection ship from OEOO and features an improved collection system. Circular Explorer, he explained, “is no longer based on lowerable nets, but on conveyor belt technology”.
“Marine litter is directed onto the conveyor belt by deflectors at the bow of the catamaran. The moving belt continuously conveys the material onto a horizontal sorting belt and everything that does not belong in the sea is sorted out manually by the sorting staff and collected in transport bags. Meanwhile, harmless organic waste falls back into the water at the end of the conveyor belt through an opening in the deck”, Scheler said.
The Circular Explorer, according to the OEOO website (oneearth-oneocean.com), is 12 meters long and about 8 meters wide. The ship weighs 6 tons and is capable of covering an area of 30,000 m²/hour and recovering about 4 tons of trash a day. The ship is also powered by solar energy.
DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director and concurrent LPPWP PAMB Chair Jacqueline A. Caancan commended OEOO’s waste collection ship. She said that the Circular Explorer—and its smaller version, the “Sea Hamster”—are a welcome addition to all the assets deployed at LPPWP and in other parts of Manila Bay. “While DENR has dedicated trash boats and Estero Rangers/Coastal Rangers deployed in LPPWP and Manila Bay, these are not enough to cover all areas. Hence, OEOO’s offer, as well as those from other organizations, are very much appreciated as the cleanup of Manila Bay, the restoration and protection of its fragile ecosystem, requires a ‘whole-of-nation’ approach”, Director Caancan explained.
“We need the help of all sectors of society in cleaning Manila Bay as pollution affects us all”, Director Caancan adds. “OEOO’s goal of removing as much marine litter as possible and putting these materials back into good use is in accord with DENR’s thrust of cleaning and rehabilitating Manila Bay and its advocacy of a circular economy”.
The LPPWP PAMB unanimously approved OEOO’s partnership offer, which includes marine waste collection and environmental science and education. According to Scheler, the project will run for three years and involves hiring and training of local staff to operationalize the ship, pick up and sort marine waste, and transport the collected plastic waste to trusted recycling centers. Scheler admits, however, that three years is not enough to clean Manila Bay and hopes that other companies will also help in keeping the Circular Explorer afloat for years to come.