Beach run cleanup gaining momentum among community members

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IN response to concerns about illegal dumping and littering in public areas on island, local company Salty Skin Pacific LLC has started a “#beachruncleanup” challenge which is now gaining momentum among community members.

Salty Skin Pacific’s #beachruncleanup encourages community members to help tackle the island’s littering problem.  Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

Joseph Villacrusis of Salty Skin Pacific said they want to raise awareness about the importance of cleaning and maintaining our beaches and oceans.

He added, “We have been following the growing concerns on climate change and pollution, which affect our oceans, reefs, and marine life. We wanted to start a culture of ‘ocean people’ who can contribute to our movement, such as outrigger paddlers, fishermen, and all the other ocean sports athletes out there.”

When asked what inspired the creation of the #beachruncleanup challenge, Villacrusis said, “Our recent movement for the #beachruncleanup started last week when James Lee and I did our two-mile jog along the shoreline stretching from Oleai Pavillion to Sugar Dock in Chalan Kanoa.”

The duo noticed a tremendous amount of garbage lying around the shores along their route.

“On the way back to our starting point, we started to pick up as much garbage as we could, but we were overwhelmed and simply were not prepared for a cleanup,” Villacrusis added.

He said there have been several and similar “challenges” on social media, particularly on Instagram, such as “the pushups challenge.”

“We then realized that the reason why several people were doing these challenges is because they were confined to their homes with nothing else to do,” he said.

Villacrusis stated that he and Lee surmised that even amid calls for self-quarantine and social distancing, some community members still go to the beach.

“There are some people who may have been looking to throw their trash away, but the trash bins were already full, so they didn’t bother. Another reason may be that they just do not care about the effects of garbage on our environment and our beautiful ocean water,” Villacrusis said.

“For all these reasons, we created a challenge, which combined all the elements of our current situation with the coronavirus.”

Villacrusis said in light of recent events, “we also understand the concept of social distancing, so we encourage independent or small group runs obeying the six-feet-apart social distancing advisement.”

He added, “Our challenge is not for self-gratification. We want people to use their time and energy into something meaningful and purposeful. We want to create a movement that promotes personal health and environmental health in a positive way. We have had about a dozen people participate in this movement thus far. We encourage everyone to take part in protecting our island, our home. If there is a great number of people who participate in keeping our beaches clean, this may deter polluters and perhaps turn them to contributors instead.”

Villacrusis said people are not required to participate in the Salty Skin Pacific movement. “They can do it on their own because we know they genuinely care [about our environment].”

If community members would like to be featured on the Salty Skin Pacific Instagram page for participating in the #beachruncleanup challenge, “we will gladly showcase their efforts because good deeds should not go unnoticed,” said Villacrusis.

“Simply tag us @saltyskinpacific and use these hashtags, #positivechange #keepourbeachesclean #keepourhomeclean.”

He added, “We do want to remind everyone to practice personal care by using gloves and masks if available, and adhering to the six-feet-apart distance when going in public areas. As for the trash collected, find the closest trash bins for your disposal. If you can’t find one or the bins are full, take your collection and properly dispose of them.”

Villacrusis said, “At the moment we have nothing to offer our followers except the fact that they should be proud of a movement that creates a healthy personal lifestyle and a healthy environment by keeping our beaches and home clean. They can also act as influencers and encourage others to do the same. We do hope to create similar challenges in the future and work with local agencies for bigger projects. Awareness is only as good as the people who can act on behalf of it.”

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