Circular Explorer making waves against plastic pollution

The Circular Explorer continues to make progress in its mission as an ambassador vessel for circular living and to support the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

A partnership between the Holcim Group and One Earth – One Ocean (OEOO), the solar-powered Circular Explorer is raising awareness on the importance of a circular economy, which includes reusing materials for as long as possible to prevent waste and conserve natural resources.

The Circular Explorer is also advancing research on marine plastic pollution to discover sustainable solutions against this challenge. Finally, the vessel collects wastes in the marine environment to support Manila Bay’s cleanup. As of Sept.10, the Circular Explorer has collected 18,415 kilograms of wastes including 7,965 kilograms of plastics covering an area close to 3.84 million square meters.

Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard Marine Environmental Protection Command participate in the daily cleanup. A partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is also in the works to align the Circular Explorer’s activities with the agency’s initiatives for Manila Bay rehabilitation.

The Circular Explorer features special sensors for collecting data on marine microplastics, huge concentrations of which have detrimental impact on aquatic life. The information is shared with the University of Philippines Marine Science Institute, which is studying possible solutions on waste management and aquatic conservation.

The vessel is spreading awareness on the importance of a circular economy against marine wastes through an education campaign with advocacy organization Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation. The campaign will run in a number of public and private elementary schools to embed the value of protecting seas and conserving resources among elementary and high school students.

Holcim Philippines President and CEO Horia Adrian: “We are proud to see the Circular Explorer in action and responding to the enormous challenge of marine pollution. The vessel also plays a key role in amplifying our message on the importance of circularity to preserve natural resources and minimize wastes. Already, we are advancing circularity, having recycled around 600,000 tons of waste in our operations in the first half of 2023 while also advocating for policies on the use of construction and demolition wastes in new structures.”

Holcim Group Circular Explorer Project Manager Christine Bellen: “We are excited to see the Circular Explorer reach new milestones under its waste collection, science, and education pillars in collaboration with our amazing partners. As it gathers more support in its mission, we are confident in seeing it deliver a bigger positive impact that can extend beyond the Philippines.”

OEOO Circular Explorer Project Manager Daniel Scheler: “With the first months of cleanup-operations, a vision has become reality. We are now actively helping clean Manila Bay with this unique prototype vessel. I am stoked to see even more important milestones coming up soon, as we are about to do the next exciting steps towards consolidating our Education and Scientific pillars. Many thanks to Holcim for being such a reliable and strong partner in this. Also many thanks to PTC & Ark Vision your tireless support is irreplaceable!”

OEOO Circular Explorer Head of Education Arthur Tuason: “The vessel in operation marks our foray into both scientific and plastic collection activities, which will serve as the foundation of our education program. For the Circular Explorer, the influence on the next generation of Filipino youth is our benchmark of success. However, if we can be the spark that inspires children to adopt Circular Economy in life, then saving our one earth and one ocean will not be just a dream.”