Swapping sticks for shovels in the Philippines

August 15, 2019

International hockey players swapped hockey sticks for rakes and shovels to help in a massive clean up of the coastline in their country.

The Philippine national indoor hockey team came to a collective decision to start doing regular beach clean-ups, starting with a section of the natural harbour in the capital city - Manila Bay.

More than 40 players and coaching staff arrived before sunrise to start their work and, while they might have missed hockey training on that day, the physical effort of dragging the accumulated garbage up the beach and then loading it onto the city garbage trucks was a strength workout in itself.

The idea was the brainchild of Benjamin Arroyo, Secretary General of Larong Hockey Sa Pilipinas and Bernie Amurao, Chief of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the City of Paranaque. It also had the full support of the City Mayor of Paranaque, the Hon. Edwin L. Olivarez.

More than a truckload of garbage was collected, taking the athletes more than four hours to do the coastal bay clean up. The garbage collected was then disposed of by the city council accordingly based on existing environmental regulation.


The team has decided that, in line with the FIH #Hockey4Life campaign, coastal clean-ups will become a regular feature of their activities and are seen as a way for the players to contribute to the wider society, as well as help in the fight to protect the environment.

Jing Arroyo, speaking for the Philippine national association, says: “Our desire to protect our environment and help in the fight against climate change should be matched with concrete actions and this is exactly what we did. In our own small way, we want to insure that future generations will live in a clean and healthy environment and continue to enjoy the great sport of hockey.”

The initiative not only aligns with FIH #Hockey4Life, it also hits one of the United Nation’s goals of sustainable development  – Life Below Water and is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020. It is also the first time that a national hockey association has collaborated on an environmental project in a collective manner. 

Arroyo says the players are keen to make beach clean-ups a regular commitment, either in Manila Bay or further afield. 

#BeTheChange #CleanSeas #Hockey4LIFE #BeyondHockey #OlympicDay


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