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DENR-NCR leads observance of 32nd International Coastal Cleanup in Metro Manila

QUEZON CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) led more than 4,000 volunteers in cleaning the shores and waterways in Metro Manila on Saturday (Sept 16).

DENR-NCR coordinated the conduct of simultaneous clean up drives in at least five (5) cities namely Pasay City (back of Mall of Asia), Manila (Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard, Estero dela Reina and PUP-Sta. Mesa), Malabon City (Pinagsabugan Creek) and Navotas City (Centennial Park along C-4 Road and Navotas Fish Port), with the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) as the major cleanup site.

Done in time with the observance of the 32nd International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), DENR-NCR hopes to contribute to the efforts of Ocean Conservancy—a non-government organization based in the US—in addressing the issue of marine waste through the conduct of coastal clean-ups and waste audit.

It was Ocean Conservancy that pioneered the conduct of beach clean-ups in 1986. In time, other countries were doing coastal clean-ups of their own in coordination with Ocean Conservancy. The first ICC was held in 1989.

The Philippines started joining the ICC in 2004, with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signing Proclamation No. 470 a year earlier declaring every third Saturday of September as International Coastal Cleanup day. Since then, the country has been an active participant of the event, even besting 93 other participating countries in terms of the number of participants in 2015.

DENR-NCR Regional Director Lourdes C. Wagan meanwhile expressed her gratitude to the thousands of volunteers. She said that the activity, even while symbolic, is just as important, especially in the wake of the floods experienced in different parts of Metro Manila recently.

She explained that while Typhoon Maring did bring in torrential rains, it was not the only cause of flooding. She said “trash clogging waterways” is a major contributor, citing reports from MMDA and other government agencies.

“It is important that the public is made aware of this fact and be persuaded to become part of the solution,” Wagan said.

“The ICC is one activity that would help us reach out to the public and other stakeholders,” Wagan added.

In conjunction with the cleanup, an audit of the trash collected was also conducted to establish a data base on marine waste. “We hope to use the data collected in coming up with concrete solutions”, Wagan said. | PIA

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