CEBU, Philippines — Employees of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Cebu Third District Engineering Office and the Lapu-Lapu City government were among the thousands of volunteers who joined the global celebration of the 32nd International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) yesterday.
The city government workers, along with the police and students, gathered hundreds of sacks of garbage after at least three-hour cleanup drive, which kicked off at the Mactan Liberty Shrine.
The Department of Interior and Local Government, in a statement, said coastal cleanup activities should not just be about picking up litters along coastlines.
DILG said local government units and volunteers should help in identifying and recoding the rubbish collected for analysis by pollution specialists.
ICC is unique from other cleanups because aside from removing trash/debris from beaches, rivers, waterways and ocean surface, the volunteers collect data to help find better solutions to the marine debris problem.
Results will aid in better waste management policies and plans, product packaging designs and in stirring environmental consciousness among the people, according to the ICC website.
Held annually every third Saturday of September, people around the world gather on beaches, coasts, rivers, waterways and underwater dive sites to remove trash and record information on the debris collected.
ICC is the largest volunteer effort for ocean’s health. It started in 1986 in Texas, USA through the initiative of the Ocean Conservancy, a non government organization based in Washington D.C., USA.
The LGUs and volunteers are expected to submit the ocean trash data form will to ICC Philippines.
Information from the data analysis will determine the effects specific materials have on the ocean habitat, and in identifying the best remedies and advocacies to counter water pollution.
According to the DILG, the data that volunteers will write down are relevant contributions in ensuring that the young generation will have their fair share of clean and healthy ocean, river or lake in the future.
The DILG has also directed its regional offices to monitor the conduct of cleanup activities in their respective localities and ensure the active participation of their constituents.
Also, in observation of the National Cleanup Month, the Ecowaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, has asked the industry, government and citizens to stop the killing of the world’s oceans.
The group cited the dumping of millions of tons of plastic waste that is contaminating the marine ecosystems and lethally threatening aquatic organisms.
To prevent plastics and other discards from spilling from land to water courses and bodies, the group advocating for a zero waste and a toxic-free Philippines called for the genuine enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“We want to call attention to the urgent need to enforce R.A. 9003 in all local government units (LGUs) and component barangays to curb global plastic pollution that is killing the oceans,” Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the Coaltion said in a separate statement.
RA 9003, among a long list of prohibitions, forbids and penalizes littering, open burning, open dumping, the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, and the importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclable.” (FREEMAN)