This remarkable improvement was observed during the cleanup conducted in celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day 2023 recording around 300 volunteers and covering a distance of 7.2 kilometers. From a total of 148 sacks of wastes weighing 516 kilograms in CY 2022 ICC Day, it has lowered to only 100 sacks weighing 412.5 kilograms for this year’s ICC.
In his message, DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Paquito D. Melicor, Jr. highlighted that may this annual celebration of the ICC develop a consciousness on proper waste management and eventually become a way life. Dir. Melicor mentioned that even if these wastes are thrown only in land, it will somehow find its way to creeks, rivers and seas and will eventually come back to us. He cited that microplastics have been found in the gut and flesh of fishes in Bohol. This scenario is a call for all considering that we are dependent on our water resources for survival. Lastly, Dir. Melicor tackled the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022 which became a law on July 23, 2022 which requires large companies to adopt and implement policies for the proper management of plastic packaging wastes. He also expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers.
LGU Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven P. Lim also reminded the participants that the little things that we do on land has a corresponding impact to our rivers and seas thus proper disposal of waste should be practiced on a daily basis. Mayor Lim added that the goal is to have a plastic-free Abatan River where volunteers could no longer collect wastes in future cleanups.
DMO III Marcial B. Ugay then announced the different cleanup stations and the proper recording and submission of the cleanup forms. Right after the short program, the cleanup officially started. This successful event was made possible by the active participation of around 300 strong volunteers from various agencies, local government units and private sectors namely: Philippine National Police (PNP); Philippine Ports Authority (PPA); Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 1st Bohol; Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP-Cortes); Abatan River Community Life Tour; MLGU Cortes; BLGU Salvador, Cortes; BLGU Poblacion, Cortes; Petron Corporation; Shell Pilipinas Corporation (SPC); Alturas Group of Companies; SPC Island Power Corporation and P-6 Poblacion, Cortes (Abatan River easement occupants.
The most common wastes collected include plastic bottles, used tire/rubber, empty cans, food wrappers, glass bottles, used clothes, empty sacks, used tarpaulins and diapers. This diminishing trend of waste collected just shows that through continuous information dissemination and call for action, Boholanos are becoming more environment-conscious and loving people.