Thousands join coastal cleanup in Cagayan
VINCE JACOB VISAYA AND ERNIE ESCONDE
The Manila Times
At least 500 volunteers from the business sector, national government agencies, municipal and barangay local government units teamed up to clean the Pinacanauan River and tributaries in line with the International Cleanup Day on Saturday. More than 2,200 kilos of garbage composed of plastic wrappers, straws, bottle caps and styrofoam among others were collected in the cleanup activity which was held simultaneously in the country. The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) engages people to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways to raise awareness about the growing pollution on various beaches of the world. With the theme “Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries,” most of the attendees were employees of SM City Tuguegarao, along with some employees of government agencies and police and firefighters. Department of Environment and Natural Resources regional director Gwendolyn Bambalan said garbage must be properly disposed of not in rivers, especially plastic materials, that end up in the seas and destroy marine biodiversity. “Environmental volunteerism is alive,” she added. SM Tuguegarao mall manager Kristine Iris Ceballos said they have been implementing yearround sustainable programs called the green movement, emphasizing that their operations are aligned with sustainable and environment-friendly practices focused on energy conservation, solid waste reduction and water conservation. In Balanga City, SM City Bataan led in the cleanup of the City Wetland and Nature Park, a well-known tourism area here visited by migratory birds. Paula Erika Gayeta, SM City Bataan public relations officer, said 100 kilograms of various wastes, mostly food wrappers, plastic straws, bottle caps and plastic beverage bottles, were gathered in the coastal area along Barangay Tortugas. Joining SM City Bataan and SM Supermarket employees, agency and security personnel were representatives from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Bataan Police Provincial Office, schools and residents of Barangay Tortugas and Pto. Rivas. “Leading the coastal cleanup reflects the strong commitment of SM Supermalls to environmental responsibility and sustainability coupled by its dedication to reducing carbon footprint, conserving resources and promoting eco-friendly practices,” said Gayeta. In Samal town, thousands of volunteers also joined the simultaneous cleanup drive. Chairman Hector Forbes of Barangay Sta. Lucia and Ibaba Barangay chairman Orland Malibiran led volunteers in the early morning cleanup in their respective villages. Sacks full of different garbage were gathered in a river in Sta. Lucia and along the coastal area in Ibaba. In Sta. Lucia, most of the participants were members of the barangay council, barangay police, health workers and other barangay officials and volunteers. Forbes said Samal Mayor Alex Acuzar directed leaders of 14 barangay and village and municipal workers to participate in the activity.