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Thousands Volunteer For Coastal Cleanup

Thousands Volunteer For Coastal Cleanup
Volunteers from various government agencies and private groups join Coast Guard personnel in collecting trash which washed up on the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach along Roxas Boulevard to mark International Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 16, 2023. Photo by Miguel De Guzman, The Philippine STAR

Thousands of volunteers joined the country’s efforts to be part of the global initiative to protect the world’s oceans during International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led the simultaneous coastal cleanups in key areas in different parts of the country with an estimated 35,000 volunteers from national and government agencies, academia, private sector and the civil society joining in the efforts.

Cleanup activities were held in the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park, Novaliches in Quezon City and the Baseco Beach in Manila as well as in the provinces of Bataan, Batangas, Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Zamboanga del Sur. 

This year’s ICC theme is “Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries” and aligns with the United Nations Ocean Decade Challenge 3 to “Sustainably Feed the Global Population.”

The collected waste will be submitted to the Ocean Conservancy and UN Ocean Decade to contribute to global efforts to combat plastic pollution.

In Navotas City, at least 700 government employees, barangay officials and staffers, teachers and representatives of private institutions and non-government organizations joined the coastal cleanup drive in its 18 barangays.

Mayor John Rey Tiangco emphasized the importance, with Navotas being a coastal city, for their constituents to participate in community cleanup activities.

“Keeping the sea and other bodies of water clean is imperative in helping our kababayans maintain their livelihood. Let us make cleanliness a part of our lifestyle,” Tiangco said in a statement, noting that a large portion of their population depends on fishing for livelihood.

The ICC Day is a global event that unites countries and people with the common goal of resolving the growing marine debris problem by maintaining cleanliness along shorelines, rivers, lakes and waterways.

The Philippines has been participating in the global ICC activity since 1994, although it was only institutionalized through Presidential Proclamation 470 on Sept. 15, 2003, which designated the third Saturday of September as ICC Day.

Last year, an estimated 249.382 metric tons of waste was collected, including cigarette butts, beverage bottles, food wrappers, bottle caps, grocery bags, food containers, cups and plates, straws and stirrers. – With an additional report from Emmanuel Tupas