Photo source https://thepollinationproject.org/grants-awarded/almira-astudillo-gilles-project-coast-22/
To turn discarded fishing gears or nets littering along the coasts all over the country into something that can be recycled or even earn money from, is the idea behind Coast 22, a social enterprise owned and operated by Dr. Almira Astudillo Gilles.
She said that discarded fishing gears or nets make up about 10% of trash in the oceans of the world which cause damage to marine life and the ecosystem. They litter the beaches including the 22,500 miles of the Philippine coastline.
Coast 22, inspired by the 22,500 miles of Philippine coastline, aims to address two problems in the coastal communities. These are: what to do with discarded fishing gears and do something about poverty in the fishing villages.
Through the enterprise, the discarded fishing nets and gears are turned into flowers that are used as decorative items. In the examples that she showed, the fishing nets and gears were crafted into flowers and used as accents on Handbags. She said that she purposely she marketed them in the US to command a higher return. The women who designed the flowers underwent training for this purpose. The entire community was also involved not only to gather the discarded materials for a source of income but to make the community neat, clean and beautiful.
Gilles hopes to expand the endeavour into more communities and to a larger market that would redound not only to more income to more families but to also contribute in protecting the marine ecosystem.
She was at the Miagao campus on April 14, 2015 to talk about Coast 22 through the invitation of the Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences that also organized and sponsored the event.
Gilles is an AB Psychology cum laude graduate from UP Diliman. She acquired her MA in Labor Relations, MA in Comparative Political Systems, and PhD in Social Science from the Michigan State University. She is a Research Associate in Anthropology at the Chicago Field Museum and the National Museum of the Philippines. She has published books and novels in several genres. Her novel, “The Fire Beneath: Tales of Gold” received a Philippine Presidential Award. Her new science book, “Hotspot, Cool Country: Biodiversity in the Philippines was recently published. She is currently working on “Art and Anthropology: Portrait of the Object as Filipino.” In June 2016, she will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Cultural and Natural Resource Conservation/Preservation from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.