The beaches of La Union province in the Philippines are famed for their surfing and snorkeling. It too has also made headlines in recent times due to the trash spotted on the beaches, documented by writer and surfer, Camille Pilar.
Two years ago, Camille Pilar created an Instagram account, Banned From The Beach, where she shared some of the photos of the trash left behind by beachgoers. The idea behind the account is to make beachgoers aware to “mind their manners” and to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem when visiting beaches they claim “to adore”.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Camille Pilar said: “The account was meant to transcend locations because protecting the beach is a concern everywhere in the world. Within hours, the account received submissions from individuals from different regions of our country. Since almost everyone has an Instagram account these days, it was the ideal platform to disseminate a message about manners and mindfulness.”
The Manila-born Camille Pilar, also a trained barista, turned her back on city living in 2014 to be closer to the ocean. She herself began to become more mindful of plastic waste especially after moving to San Juan. She decided to take her awareness raising campaign a step further by joining forces with her partner, Harold, to open the San Juan-based coffee shop, Clean Beach Coffee.
Clean Beach Coffee provides travellers and locals with a place to enjoy coffee while simultaneously increasing their awareness about the environment. The cafe aims to keep a clean beach by eradicating the use of plastics. Clean Beach Cafe use ceramics, glass, and reusable bamboos straws as an alternative to disposables.
Visitors to the cafe will also find colourful beach baskets which guests are free to borrow for picking up litter by the beach. In a bid to “reward good habits”, Clean Beach Coffee give participants a free glass of their special house blend iced tea in return for picking up trash. They also give discounts for those who bring their own tumblers and reusable coffee cups.
Camille Pilar added: “As a new wave of development washes over our surf town, we wanted to act on the need for balance between progress and preservation. We can’t just keep building new shops and selling more products without giving back to the environment. All these natural resources are limited. If we don’t do anything to protect the beach, who knows how long the beach will stay safe and friendly? To keep a good thing going, you have to give back.”
Image Credits: Clean Beach Coffee Facebook page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com