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International Coastal Cleanup Day

International Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual event sponsored by The Ocean Conservancy, takes place in over one hundred countries throughout the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers spend a day collecting trash on their local beaches as a demonstration of their commitment to keep their coastline and ocean clean. ECIM has helped bring this event to Chile, serving as the country’s national coordinator for International Coastal Cleanup Day.

On October 1st, 2005, ECIM coordinated Chile’s first official large-scale participation in this international event. Although there were participants throughout Chile, ECIM focused efforts in the Province of San Antonio, the region where ECIM is located and an area that receives a large number of coastal visitors. The results were impressive: more than 1,100 volunteers participated, covering 188 kilometers of coastline and collecting over 1,100 garbage bags of trash. More than 150,000 individual items were picked up, totaling over 7.5 tons of trash. The results also showed that the majority of trash found on beaches in Chile was the result of littering by individual beach visitors. Some of the most commonly found items included plastic bottle caps (39.7%), plastic beverage bottles (28.8%), cigarette butts (7.0%), food wrappers (3.9%), and plastic bags (3.9%).

This event’s success was made possible by the dedication of an enormous variety of volunteers, including students, teachers, health professionals, port employees, fishermen, poets, artists, researchers, local government officials, journalists, and local environmental groups, to name just a few. Chile’s first participation in International Coastal Cleanup Day also received extensive local and national media coverage on television networks, newspapers, and radio stations, helping to raise awareness of the importance of keeping Chile’s coast and ocean healthy.

Building on the success of the first year, ECIM has continued to promote efforts to keep Chile’s beaches clean and to coordinate Chile’s participation in International Coastal Cleanup Day.

In 2006, this iniciative was documented in Sólo Un Día. The complete documentary film can be watch next.

Documental Sólo Un Día from JavierCieloSur on Vimeo.