During September this year VESS encouraged people of Vanuatu to participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). In this the 32nd year of the ICC, VESS again joined in the global effort to rid our oceans of debris. Following on from hosting events in Vanuatu in the last 2 years, this year VESS asked communities, organisations and businesses to take the ICC a step further and organize their own clean ups in their own areas to remove rubbish from our sea and beaches and waterways.

The cleanup and data collection was completed entirely by volunteers. 213 people in all collected rubbish.On land collection 205 people took part and collected 274 bags of rubbish weighing over 700Kg from 50km of coastline, waterways and streets in and around Port Vila. Eight divers took part and collected 218Kg or rubbish from 1370 Sq meters of seabed in Port Vila Harbour.

The vast majority of the land debris was plastics, with plastics and foam making up nearly three quarters of the rubbish collected. Underwater there was less plastic collected and more glass bottles and aluminum cans. This is likely to be because plastic doesn’t sink and can float away or be suspended in the water column.

Nearly four and a half THOUSAND plastic bags and over two THOUSAND plastic drinks bottles were picked up during the cleanups. The cleanups only covered small areas of Port Vila and surrounds. One can only assume that there are THOUSANDS more plastic bags and bottles littering our streets. 

Read the full report on the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup in Vanuatu here