Underwater Clean Up: The Ocean is Not A Dump

Submitted by viravira on 30 October 2013   •  Opinion

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Mumun took part in an underwater clean up called #SAMPAHNYOLOT in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As you might already know, we’re big fans of the sea. A lot of our entries evolve around the beach, ocean and its marine life. If only climbing mountains were easier, I’m sure we’d be fans of the mountains, too. But, nothing beats running from a white sandy beach to the pristine blue ocean.

Underwater clean up

Who wouldn’t love walking on a clean beach?


Having said that, it’s sad to admit that some of the ocean of Indonesia isn’t as clean as I’d like them to be. My last visit at Pink Beach, Komodo National Park, ended with a few wrappers floating that I managed to salvage. It broke my heart. Many still wish to believe that the ocean will eat of our trash up considering how vast it is. It’s a behavior that we’re trying to overcome. We haven’t reached the point where we understand how disposing trash correlates back to the environment that we live in. We’re trying to get there.

Underwater clean up

A beach in Pekalongan, Central Java 🙁


However! There’s hope. Green Smile Indonesia is a non-profit organization, consists of young people, who are concerned about the environment in general and how we must maintain earth especially for future generations. They’re focusing in advocating a green living amongst the next generation, so that this way of life can continue for a better earth. Wow! I felt like I was in a pageant just now.

Running as Miss Earth (NOT!), I participated in their coastal clean up not so long ago, and was assigned to help the underwater clean up. Woohoo! It was the first for me and I learned a lot from this event. The clean up was held with another 600 people at Pramuka Island, Kepulauan Seribu, one of the most dense islands of the mini archipelago.

Underwater clean up isn’t as easy as it seems. Although diving for it is a lot of fun, turns out, you need a lot of concentration to collect the trash. Not every unnatural substance can be collected. It takes some observation before assuring that something can be lifted. In the case of glass, metal and plastic objects, if it has marine life living on or in it, then it would be best to leave it alone. The same rule applies to paper objects. Frustratingly, paper substances shrivel when moved. A few cigarette packs and paper wrappers easily crumble in my hands as I picked them up. Then there’s the challenge of keeping the trash within the bag.

Underwater Clean up
The clean up included local public figures like Nugi (musician),
Prue (TV personality), and Dayu Hatmanti (Miss Scuba)


Underwater clean up is a very labor-intensive activity. Trash must be hand picked and can’t be collected massively in one go because it can cause more damage to the sea floor. During this event, it took about 100 divers to barely clean up about less than 500 meters in length of ocean floor. How can we clean up the whole ocean? I guess one dive at a time!

Fortunately, now, I don’t have to wait for these events to keep trying to clean the ocean. With the little knowledge that I’ve learned during the workshop about underwater clean ups, I’m now more confident in picking the right trash next time I swim in the sea. It might not be a significant move, considering the amount of trash we dump in the sea everyday, but at least I get to see a clean ocean just in front of me to make me a happy fish in the sea.

underwater clean up

A nice vacation on a clean beach of Gili Gede, Lombok 🙂


You can do it too! If you see trash in the ocean or the beach, and marine life hasn’t latched on to it, you can easily pick it up and dispose it in the trashcan. Trash from the land should be disposed on land and not in the sea. If you think you need a friend to start, well there’s a lot of volunteering gigs that you can participate out there. Aside doing some good for the earth, you can meet new friends. Sounds like good to me!

For those curios Indonesians, head down to Green Smile Indonesia’s website here or to their twits tagged #SAMPAHNYOLOT for more information.


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