The International Coastal Clean up is nearly here. You can get involved to help to clear our beaches and waterways of rubbish. By counting and recording what we find we can also contribute to the global database of ocean debris and increase awareness of the problem of rubbish getting into our seas. The ICC is a global effort coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy and is in it’s 31st year. Vanuatu contributed for the first time last year with events hosted by VESS.

The International Coastal Clean Up is officially 17th September and it is the day that people all around the world remove rubbish form the waterways.  But the data collected from any clean ups that take place a week before to a week after the actual ‘official’ day can be added to the database.

This year VESS is teaming up with Port Vila Boat Yard and The Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club to hold a ‘flagship event’ to clean up at Ifira Point on Saturday 10th September. You can join us – we will meet at the Boat Yard at 1pm. Bring along a pair of gloves to keep your hands clean and we will provide the rubbish bags and data sheets. Or if you want to save paper download the new Clean Swell App from the Ocean Conservancy. The bar will be open afterwards for drinks and a sausages sizzle.

We are also teaming up with Big Blue on the morning of the 10th to do a ‘Dive Agains Debris’ at Ifira Point. I am sure that there will be a correlation of what we find on the shore to what we find in the water. See Big Blue’s Facebook page for details of how to join in if you are a certified diver.

The Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation are organising a national clean up day on the 16th September. We are joining forces with that effort but adding a little ‘Citizen Science’ to it by collecting data for our survey.

You can also do your own clean up and debris survey. Just flow these steps

  • Get together a group of friends, family or work colleagues
  • Choose your site: It can be anywhere where rubbish if left there could end up in the ocean: a beach,  a river bank or a street where litter could be washed in to sea in the next rain storm.
  • Get some data sheets. You can either collect some from VESS – just email us to let us know how many and when you want to collect them. Or you can download them. You will need one volunteer sheet for every 2 people and one coordinator sheet for your team.
  • Alternatively you can download the “Clean Swell” app from the apple or android store and record your data as you go. Click here to find out more about the app
  • Choose a date and time. It can be any time from the 10th to the 24th September.
  • Put up a poster to get more people to join you
  • On the day collect the rubbish and the data and record it on the data sheets.
  • Remember to make sure all the rubbish you collect is disposed of in the appropriate manner.
  • Return you data sheets to VESS so your efforts can be recorded on the international database.

If you have any questions please call Christina on 5510026 or email

The Bastien Foundation are holding an exhibition on the problem of plastic waste in our seas called ‘Sik Plastik blong solwota’. If you are an artist and you need some inspiration or materials you might find some plastics you could make use of during the International Coastal Cleanup. Here are more details of the exhibition.

If you are interested in the data and who participated last year you can see the 2015 International Ocean Clean up report here. Last year 89 people in Vanuatu took part. Help us do better this year and get involved! here is some more information about the International Coastal Clean up and if you want to find out more about the global effort click here:

International Coastal Clean up in Vanuatu