MANILA - Environmentalists, local officials and private groups on Sunday marked Earth Day with efforts to curb plastic waste and other green acts across the country.
In Boracay, divers scoured the waters for plastic and other trash as the island prepared for a 6-month closure that will give way to the rehabilitation of its sewage system and the demolition of illegal structures.
Diving enthusiasts and resort owners in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu also collected trash from the seas during the "Scubasurero" program organized by local officials.
Most of the collected garbage were plastic cups, bottles and bags left by tourists, according to disaster response officer Andy Berame.
The local government, he said, eyes making the "Scubasurero" a weekly program.
Businessmen and public officials planted mangrove seedlings in the neighboring Mandaue City.
Fishermen, meanwhile, condemned the reclamation of bodies of water for economic use in a fluvial protest from the town of Minglanilla and cities of Talisay and Cebu.
Some 100 residents in Baguio also celebrated Earth Day by "plogging" or jogging throughout the city and picking up trash.
"Noong nagjo-jogging kasi ako sa amin, napansin ko ang dami talagang basura. Sabi ko try ko 'yung plogging na ginagawa sa Europe, hanggang sa may mga kasama na ko,” said Stephanie Abnasan, a medical practitioner, who pioneered the plogging movement.
Aided by the local government, Abnasan's group collected some 30 bags of garbage in Burnham Park alone, 15 times more than the usual amount collected by street sweepers in a day.
Environmental advocates in Pasay, meanwhile, campaigned for recycling, the reduction of plastic use, and the use of solar power, among others.
Some 1 billion people from 192 countries celebrate Earth Day every year, its organizers said in their website.
This year's global campaign aims to create support for eliminating single-use plastics and the regulation for its disposal, said organizer Earth Day Network (EDN).
"From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival," the group said.
"EDN will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems," it added. -- With a report from Nony Basco, Leleth Rumaguera, Micaella Ilao