MANILA, Sept. 26 — Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will lead on Saturday (Sept. 27) the coastal clean-up of Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) at Long Island in Las Piñas City.
Around 4,000 volunteers from 32 organizations, including government agencies, are expected to join the clean-up, which starts at seven o’clock in the morning.
Also expected to participate in the clean-up of LPPCHEA are Sen. Cynthia Villar, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., Presidential Adviser and Laguna Lake Development Authority Gen. Manager Nereus Acosta, Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Mundita Lim, Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez and Coca Cola Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Atty. Adel Tamano.
The clean-up, which forms part of the national celebration of International Coastal Clean Up, was originally scheduled last Saturday (Sept. 20), but was cancelled due to the onslaught of typhoon ‘Mario’.
Simultaneous with the clean-up of LPPCHEA, the office of the national capital region of the DENR (DENR-NCR) will launch a massive volunteer effort to clean three of Metro Manila’s major river systems that flow directly into Manila Bay.
The new campaign, dubbed “Million People Cleanup,” will be launched at Manila’s bay walk area along Roxas Boulevard. The campaign seeks to encourage more volunteers from 17 cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the clean-up of the river systems of Malabon-Navotas-Tinajeros- Tullahan (MANATUTI), Muntinlupa-Paranaque-Las Pinas-Zapote (MUNTIPARLASPIZAP), and Pasig-Marikina-San Juan (PAMARISAN).
According to Paje, the clean-up of the three river systems forms part of the continuing effort to rehabilitate Manila Bay and serves as one of the highlights of the local celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day.
The new campaign seeks to foster not only public awareness, but also the sense of volunteerism among the people of Metro Manila in keeping their rivers and Manila Bay clean.
“More than just cleaning rivers, the campaign is about the communities working to bring about environmental citizenship among individuals who share a common interest in the well-being of the Manila Bay,” Paje pointed out.
Paje said the campaign, which is organized by the DENR-NCR and supported by all local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila and various non-government organizations and volunteer groups, hopes to attract more volunteers who will help clean the rivers, creeks and esteros that are either connected or affect the condition of Manila Bay.
The environment chief said the LGUs play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the campaign, noting that they are in the forefront of mobilizing volunteers and in encouraging their constituencies to participate.
The undertaking, he added, was also part of the DENR’s compliance to the 2008 Supreme Court decision, which put to task the department and nine other government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve the bay.
A total of 16 sites have been designated for the ICC event where participants will conduct the cleanup.
Rather than a strict requirement on the number of participants, the “Million People Cleanup” tag was conceived more as a rallying and symbolic call aimed at raising awareness on the issue of water pollution.
During the ICC, volunteers record information on the trash or debris collected on a standardized data card. The body of data collected over the years provide authorities and environmental groups an item-by-item, location-by-location accounting of what’s trashing the oceans, helping them develop smart solutions.
The ICC Day was first held in Texas, United States in 1986. In the Philippines, Presidential Proclamation (PP) No. 244 was issued in 1993 declaring September of every year as the National Cleanup Month. This was followed by PP 470 issued in 2003, designating every third Saturday of September as ICC Day.
The Philippines has been consistently one of the top participating countries in the ICC in terms of the number of volunteers, who usually come from LGUs, other government offices, the academe, business sector and civic groups.(DENR)
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