Children picking up trash on the beach

How to Start Your Own ‘Clean Beach’ Project

Hey hey hello! Welcome, we meet again 🙂

This week I want to share with you about a little project that I have initiated with my siblings more than a month ago. It’s called Project PC, and PC simply stands for pollution control. The idea for the name came from my little brother, and because our area of interest is the beach, I rewrote the name into #projectPCbeach. Our goal is simple, we focus on how to clean the beach and still have fun doing it!

Clean beach project
#projectPCbeach is like a subset of the viral trend, #trashtag

Soon after we started this project, I found out about the whole hype of the #trashtag challenge. It is a wonderful initiative that has been around since 2015 but has really taken off recently on social media. As a result, it has encouraged thousands around the world to clean up polluted areas. Now that is amazing, and that is one hashtag I do not mind trending!

What is the story behind Project PC?

We live near the coastal area. I grew up playing on the beach with my siblings and friends, enjoying the waves, the view, the smell. From parties, school activities, family outings, and even random evening walk, a significant part of our social time we spent at the beach. In my memory, I have only ever seen the beach as beautiful and homey. The seaside holds a special place in our hearts, and will always do.

Now to cut the story short, recently in February, I had the most fun trip to Sabah (East Malaysia) where we went island hopping and had the most awesome day enjoying the glorious sea. When I got back to my hometown after the trip, I visited the beach near my house again and immediately something caught my eyes. The beach was FILTHY. My only guess was that the sight of the well-kept islands during my trip was such a stark contrast that my eyes were now “opened’. And I was very upset.

We need to clean this trash-filled beach
Broke my heart to see this sorry sight on our beach

And so I thought, “What can I do”?

On our ride back home that day, I told my brother and sister (they’re 11 and 9 by the way) that I was thinking of going to the beach again the next day with some trash bags. Kids being the pure souls they are, immediately agreed and were super excited to start the project. We also invited our good friends/neighbors to join us to clean the beach. And then, on the very next day, our very own Project PC commenced, just like that!

It blew my mind how easy it was to just start and make a change. All I need was some trash bags, gloves, and a few kindred spirits to join me! Fast forward to more than a month later, we’ve managed to do more than five sessions of Project PC during the weekends and had even attracted some locals to join. See, it doesn’t need to be fancy or big or anything, it just needs to start.

Why bother?

Ahhh the BIG question.

Believe you me, in the case of protecting our environment, most of us are probably on the same page if we’re being honest. We know it is important, but not enough to do something about it. Just like everyone else, I was also content to just move on with my life and mind my own business. As long as I do not throw garbage recklessly, I’m good.

"Well, at least I'm not contributing to more damage right?" pretty much sums up my entire logic about the care for environment. 

But here is the thing. Maybe, and I’m just talking a big fat MAYBE here, but just maybe, we all can do more than just “at least”. How does that sound?

Three tips on how to clean your beach

#1: Make it fun

It is really up to you how you would define your fun. For us, since I am working with children, I often opt to make trash-collecting into games. For example, I gave them each a trash bag and let them compete on who gets the most trash or find the most interesting ones. After the project, I would reward them with a good playtime by the sea. That always works!

Whatever it is, make it your aim to enjoy your effort, because that is how you would be motivated to do it for a long time. Nowadays I always look forward to Saturdays, because that will be the day I get to go to the beach, do some good and just have fun 🙂

#2: Involve the people around you

I find that doing this clean beach project with friends and families always make me more energetic and happy. Having more people around will improve your mood and productivity, so call out your moms, dads, aunts, uncles, neighbors and whoever you can think of to join you. Make it a group effort.

Children picking up trash to clean the beach
I think it is a good idea to encourage love towards the environment from a young age

But even if you couldn’t find anyone to join you, don’t worry. You’ll be surprised to see that once you have started, especially in public areas, other people will be interested to join you, or at the very least, you have managed to trigger their awareness and nudge them towards doing good too!

#3: Small effort goes a long way

On our first session, we collected four large bags of trash. We felt good. On the second session, the trash we collected went down to just two bags because our friend could not join on that day. I felt not so good. Now, this is exactly the time for you to just stop and remind yourself that you are doing this not solely for the sake of quantity. Much more than that, it is about continuity.

So it is okay if you couldn’t pick up as much trash as the last time because you were feeling under the weather. Maybe the friends/families didn’t want to participate. It doesn’t matter. You do what you can within your power, and you continue that effort. The last thing we want is people who lost steam just after one or two times.

No beach? Not fond of trash collecting?

Not a problem at all!

Project PC may have meant the beach for us, but you can make your own projects too. It can be the park, riverside, streets, woods or even just around your own neighborhood. Basically, you can start anywhere that you feel need a bit of a clean-up and love.

And if you feel that collecting trash and litter is not really your thing, or if you absolutely could not find the time for it, there are also a gazillion other ways for you to contribute and do your part for the environment. For example, I found that Green Blizzard has some great ideas on how to protect our environment while working. Real Simple offers some great alternatives too, so check them out if you need inspirations.

Come on, it’s your turn!

Let us all take a moment to gently push negativity aside and just try to move with a humble realization. This is a big big world we live in, and whether we choose to see it or not, the evidence is everywhere that the Earth is sick, and we are the reason it happened. So we owe it to do our part, whatever we can, small or big, to give back to mother nature. To a healthier Earth!

Tell us how YOU have been participating in the effort to save our environment. Better yet, share with us your awesome pictures so that we can all give ourselves a pat in the back for the good work 🙂

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