DENR targets fewer trash recovery on ICC Day
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping that this time around fewer marine trash would be collected when the country takes part in the world’s biggest coastal cleanup known as the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day. 

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that while the agency was delighted that the Philippines has been consistent as one of the countries having the most number of ICC volunteers, it was also saddened by the fact that the volume of recovered trash has doubled each year. 

“I think it is about time we focus on less trash that the volunteers would have to retrieve from the shores, waterways and underwater,” Paje said.  

The DENR, along with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, leads the coastal cleanup in the Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard in Manila and the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) as the main focal points.

 Based on the yearly reports of the Washington-based Ocean Conservancy, the volume of ocean trash recorded by volunteers from the Philippines has doubled every year during the last three years. 

The reports stated that in 2010, more than 145,000 Filipino volunteers picked up a total of 240,360 kilos of trash. In 2011, some 114,418 volunteers recorded 485,091 kilos, while in 2012, almost 144,000 people retrieved more than 1.3 million kilos. 

“As you can see, the number of registered volunteers has more or less remained the same, but the amount of trash they picked up in just one day has doubled alarmingly. It means more trash is making its way into our waters,” Paje pointed out.

According to the environment chief, the objective of celebrating the ICC Day was not to have the most number of volunteers, but to reduce trash in the waters. 

“We would rather be known as a country where the trash they pick up has lessened significantly, as this would be a good success indicator for our solid waste management programs,” he said. 

Paje said this year’s local theme, “Bayanihan Para sa Malinis na Karagatan,” and the international theme “Working for Clean Beaches and Clean Water,” speak much about the need for every citizen to participate in the various water quality programs of the government. 

The DENR head urged the public to be mindful of where they throw their trash and not to depend on having others to clean the beaches and waterways, noting that the country’s solid waste management law calls for a “preventive lifestyle, where we minimize our wastes and prevent more of them from making their way into our waters.” 

He added, “We should remember that clean waters and oceans also mean a healthier environment for our coastal and marine resources, which we heavily depend on for food.”

Held every third Saturday of September, the ICC Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1986. The Philippines has been an active participant in the worldwide event since 1994, consistently ranking second, next only to the US, in having the most number of volunteers.


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