TENS of thousands of Filipinos joined volunteers in over 150 countries across the world for International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day on Saturday, September 16, along various coastlines in the country.ICC is a global initiative by the Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy that is dedicated to addressing ocean pollution through beach and waterway cleanups.In the Philippines, ICC is implemented under Presidential Proclamation 470, which declares ICC to be held every third Saturday of September, with the Philippines being recognized as 'the cleanup capital of the world.'ICC instills a sense of vigilance among Filipinos in their support of the ongoing global fight against marine litter.The Philippines has been participating in the ICC since 1994.The theme 'Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries' is carried out by this year's ICC, which aligns closely with the objectives of the United Nations Ocean Decade Challenge 3, which is to 'Sustainably Feed the Global Population.'This challenge recognizes the need to ensure sustainable food production from the ocean to feed the growing global population while safeguarding the health and productivity of marine ecosystems.In partnership with numerous organizations, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) took the lead in coordinating cleanups in various water bodies across the country. An estimated 35,000 volunteers armed with sacks, rakes and gloves joined forces for the cleanup effort across the country.Participants included individuals and groups from the DENR workforce, national and local government agencies, academia, the private sector, youth organizations, civic groups, and civil society.Concurrent coastal cleanups led by various DENR offices and bureaus were held nationwide, including in key areas such as the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park; the Tullahan River along Barangay San Bartolome in Novaliches, Quezon City; the Baseco Beach in Manila; the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park in Bataan; Barangay Butong Taal in Batangas; the Mactan Channel in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu; the Abatan River and Panglao in Bohol; the Banica River in Dumaguete; Bais City, Negros Oriental; and along the shore of Pagadian Bay in Zamboanga del Sur.Apart from coastal cleanups mostly led by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and its volunteer group the PCG Auxiliary, the group also conducted underwater cleanups in the National Capital Region.Beyond waste retrieval, ICC volunteers documented the volume of waste collected, which will be submitted to the Ocean Conservancy and the UN Ocean Decade to contribute to global efforts to combat plastic pollution.During the 2022 ICC, findings of the Global Ocean Trash Index conducted by Ocean Conservancy showed that the Philippines collected 249.382 metric tons of waste. The collected waste encompassed a spectrum of items, including cigarette butts, beverage bottles, food wrappers, bottle caps, grocery bags, food containers, cups and plates, straws, and stirrers.