Jun 8, 2018

Did you know that June is Celebrate the Sea Month? In fact, it is mandated in a proclamation issued by then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2008 which also states that the second Saturday of June is declared as Celebrate the Sea Day.

While you may be new to this declaration, the fact that the country is rich in marine biodiversity should not be entirely new to you, as with the current state of our environment.

Just last month Boracay has been shut down by President Duterte to rehabilitate the island which has suffered from the years of unchecked human activity. Manila Bay, on the other hand, has been compared to a “toilet bowl” because of the garbage surrounding the coast and the dangerous level of coliform in its water.

While according to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia, the Philippines is the third country in the world with the most ocean plastic pollution.

And if that’s alarming enough, a few incidents of marine animal deaths have been reported recently after these creatures accidentally ingested plastics which they mistook for food.

The good news is, most ecological impacts of our actions can be minimized. Being conscious about our consumption behavior is one way to go. It doesn’t really take so much to care for the sea, so here’s what you can do to save it.

Be a responsible traveler

road trip

Much of the waste we see in our bodies of water are related to our travel behavior, hard to believe as it is. Inhabiting islands take a toll on our seas only because some people are irresponsible when it comes to their trash that litter sands and the waters.

A simple practice that everyone can do is to clean after yourself, as you should even at home. If plastic packaging cannot be avoided, the least you can do is to make sure that they are disposed of properly or sent to a recycling facility.

Use coral-friendly sunscreen


Even the products we use for our body can have detrimental effects on the environment. The sunscreen you are used to applying before bathing actually contains chemicals linked to the leaching of nutrients for the corals and even bleaching which turns them white.

But since sun damage is actually something that you should be avoiding thus the use of sunscreen is unavoidable and in fact recommended, lucky for you there are already sunscreen brands who have natural, cruelty-free ingredients who does the job just as well without hurting the corals.

Leave the corals alone

coral reef

And speaking of corals, there has been an alarming number of reports and social media posts where people pick corals from their natural habitats to make them souvenirs. This is a no-no as these creatures are actually alive and they take years to regrow. Plus, by plucking them out of the oceans you are depriving fishes of homes.

If you are really keen on taking a memory from your travels, photos work perfectly well. As well as souvenirs from local shops which profits from your support.

Consider single-use plastic alternatives

No, reusable metal and bamboo straws are not just a fad. By opting out of using straws for your drinks you are actually helping reduce the number of straws that end up in the ocean. There is a growing market for them and you could easily buy one for yourself in many local shops.

Apart from straws, you can also help by bringing your own reusable bags when shopping, refusing multiple bags in the grocery, and replacing your plastic ear tips with wooden ones. Same thing for plastic utensils that come with your takeout.


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Read more:

To smokers, your cigarette butts are hurting the ocean, too

The Philippines might start banning microplastics and single-use plastics soon

You might want to think twice about cotton buds

Read more by Christian San Jose

DENR’s own canteen is guilty of using plastic

After closing down businesses, gov’t eyes making Boracay lands arable “again”;

Old photos from the glory days of Manila Bay before it was a “toilet bowl”

TAGS: Celebrate the Sea Day Celebrate the Sea Month coral ocean philippines plastics sea sunscreen sustainable living travel