Thousands turn out for coastal cleanup

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The annual local event is part of a larger global effort, with trash bags and gloves provided to volunteers at different sites around the island.

Thousands of people turned out for Guam’s largest volunteer cleanup event that happened this past Saturday.

Hosted by the Bureau of Statistics and Plans Guam Coastal Management Program, Guam marked its 25th year on Sept. 21 participating in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

The annual local event is part of a larger global effort, with trash bags and gloves provided to volunteers at different sites around the island.

Site Leader Luwie Bisnar says they expected over 400 students, teachers, and parents at Paseo de Susana. She adds that she was excited for volunteers to help clean up the island.

“There are around 20-plus sites that we’re cleaning up teaming up with BSP. We’re here for the second time in Paseo, but it’s the third time for IP&E and IT&E to help clean up the island,” Bisnar said.

As a passionate science teacher at Tiyan High and marine biology teacher at Pacific Island University, Mary Garvilles tells PNC that she had about 100 volunteers that turned out from different grade levels.

She’s volunteered for the last 15 years and says the lessons taught at the coastal cleanup go beyond just service learning hours for her students. It’s taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and understanding the need to become stewards of protecting the island, environment and sea life.

“Our life depends on it. Like I said, our water, our air, our watersheds, we have to protect that, because if we don’t, and they’re not educated and are aware of it, you’re going to lose your island,” Garvilles said.

While earning their service learning hours, 9th grade Simon Sanchez High School students Jericho Villegas and Chris Carreon say they enjoyed their time sprucing up their site, while noting down the amount of trash and recyclables they picked up.

“We’re doing service-learning and I had fun doing it here. I would do it again,” Villegas said.

“It’s a great day to be outside, instead of going inside to do the internet and stuff and it’s quite like a hobby for me,” Carreon said.

With so many volunteers of different ages out in full force, it looks like this year’s international coast cleanup is set up to be another success.

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