Area organizations celebrate World Ocean Day

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Three area organizations came together on the shores of the Pamlico River to celebrate World Ocean Day by participating in a trash cleanup project that spanned land and sea. 

The North Carolina Estuarium, partnered with the nonprofit Love A Sea Turtle and precious metal recycling plant Metallix, hosted over 150 volunteers along the Washington waterfront. For four hours, volunteers attended educational programs hosted by the Estuarium, scavenger hunts around downtown Washington and kayaking through partnerships with local businesses.

“We closed down our operations today to join Love a Sea Turtle. As Metallix, we wanted to support the local community and obviously help out on World Ocean Day to clean up the trash that we could find here in Washington,” said Maria Piastre, president of Metallix. “We chose Washington for the Waterfront. We could have done something in Greenville but for World Ocean Day, we wanted to honor that.”

Metallix refines gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium from manufacturing scrap. The company takes metal waste and refines, recovers and recycles the precious metals from the waste and introduces them back into the marketplace to continue to be reused. 

“It’s an environmentally conscious company that is concerned and they wanted to come do something on World Ocean Day. Maria’s son has been volunteering with our organization for five years so she contacted us,” said Daniel Sokolovic, director of LAST. “We at LAST had partnered with the Estuarium before and when Metallix spoke about Washington, we contacted the Estuarium and River Vibes and Inner Banks Outfitters so everything was kept local to Washington.” 

LAST is a registered nonprofit organization based in Greenville that focuses on engaging area youths by teaching leadership development, ocean conservation and service learning. In it’s 16th year, LAST offers 14 programs ranging from recycling projects to hunger initiatives for children to volunteer and be a part of helping their community. 

“We’re all interconnected and this is an important area with bioaccumulation so we definitely enjoy coming here and helping out when we can. This would not have happened without Metallix and the company’s commitment to doing things like this,” Sokolovic said. “There’s a lot of positives to coming out to Washington and I really hope that we can possibly work toward making this an annual event.” 

World Ocean Day is an international event held annually on June 8 and supported by The Ocean Foundation, a nonprofit focused on protecting our oceans. Events for World Ocean Day have been held in over 140 countries in conjunction with the United Nations nation state members to foster an environment of conservation and education in relation to our planet’s oceans. Metallix and LAST volunteers collected over 500 pounds of debris and litter from downtown Washington and the Pamlico River during the event.