Established 30 years ago, International Coastal Clean-up day is an occasion for volunteers to collect, document and appropriately dispose of trash that litter our coastlines. Data gathered also helps identify ways to eliminate trash that may end up here in the future.

More than 12 million individuals have since volunteered their time and energy to collect and document over 100 million kilograms of trash, not just on beaches and coastlines, but lakes and rivers too. And yet, these efforts are still not enough.

The annual ICC day is a great opportunity to raise awareness among the public of the problems caused by marine debris. This year, we are hoping to build a coalition of stakeholders who will help us achieve our goal of eliminating the need for beach clean-ups within 10 years via the improvement of recycling and reduction of the release of plastics and other waste materials into the environment” - Julian Hyde, General Manager, Reef Check Malaysia.

The partnership with Reef Check Malaysia helps to promote the ICC across Malaysia in an effort to raise awareness on marine debris issues and demonstrate our commitment towards this goal to stakeholders. Coca-Cola will be running social media campaigns across various platforms with content that aims to encourage both digital and physical engagement from viewers.

This vision of a future where coastlines, and both humans and marine life can experience a trash-free environment is also aligned with Coca-Cola’s goal of a “World Without Waste”. That’s why Reef Check Malaysia is spearheading the efforts for the ICC in the country together with the help of Coca-Cola Malaysia and The Body Shop.

Announced earlier this year, the “World Without Waste” packaging vision will also see The Coca-Cola Company fundamentally reshaping its global approach to packaging, with a global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030.

“Unfortunately, packaging often ends up as marine debris due to improper disposal thus we have committed to lead the industry in sustainable packaging goals. As one of world’s leading beverage companies, we are committed to ensuring that our products come in 100% recyclable packaging and we are working with community organisations and supporting initiatives such as this coastal cleanup with Reef Check Malaysia to facilitate proper package disposal and helping change behaviour to prevent littering and encourage recycling,” - Ahmed Yehia, Country Manager for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Region, The Coca-Cola Company.

This 22nd September 2018, those who engage with the content are encouraged to organise their own clean-up at various locations. All they have to do is gather a group and head to the nearest coastal location with necessary equipment to collect and document the type of trash collected on the “Clean Swell” mobile app.

Participants at last year’s ICC gathering and recording data on trash littering a coastline.
Participants at last year’s ICC gathering and recording data on trash littering a coastline.

The “Clean Swell” mobile app is downloadable on App Store and Google Play. It helps keep track of GPS locations of the trash collected as well as allow users to log the type of trash collected. This data is crucial in Reef Check Malaysia’s efforts to highlight the seriousness of marine debris in Malaysia and to raise public awareness that we need better recycling and waste management systems.

A clean coastline and a healthy ocean for both humans and marine life is not just a single person’s responsibility. It is a joint effort between every individual to not only be mindful of the trash they throw away but to make sure that it’s recycled and/or recyclable so that we don’t only “sea” a better future, but live it.

Trash collected, documented and ready to be properly disposed.
Trash collected, documented and ready to be properly disposed.