MANILA – Thousands of volunteers turned up along the coastlines, inlets and waterways across the country on Saturday for the 39th annual International Coastal Clean-up Day.
In Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard in Manila alone, some 9,000 volunteers from various universities and colleges, private companies, non-governmental oraganizations and government agencies joined the activity.
According to the Manila City government, volunteers were able to collect 11 truckloads of trash along the bay’s stretch from the American Embassy area up to Manila Yacht Club.
Event organizers said the huge bulk of garbage are composed of candy wrappers, plastic bags and cups, cigarette butts and drinking straws.
The absence of trash along the bay’s stretch has been noticeable following the clean-up drive.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said that aside from occasional cleaning operations, authorities should also focus on the problem of informal settlers of Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila whose community contributes to the garbage in Manila Bay.
Volunteers, meanwhile, were hard-pressed at collecting trash at the fish port of San Dionisio, Parañaque because of the thick sludge in the area.
The City Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) personnel were only able to gather the garbage floating on the water’s surface because a more thorough sweep of the area would already require dredging.
Simultaneous clearing operations were also conducted in Pasay, Batangas, Cavite, Navotas, Laguna, and Mindoro.
A study released in February by oceanographers in Massachusetts, estimate that 8 million metric tons of trash are dumped into ocean waters annually by coastal countries.
The research group identified the Philippines as the third largest contributor of marine debris, behind China and Indonesia. – With reports from Johnson Manabat and Zhander Cayabyab, radio dzMM