MANILA — Massive clean-up activities, dubbed as “Bayan Ko, Linis Ko” were held all over the country Sunday (September 17) for the National Clean Up Day organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with local government units, non-government organizations, academe and the private sector.
Some 20,000 civic society groups, local government units, private companies, schools and individuals from different parts of the country were expected to participate in the cleanup of barangays, schools, creeks, various waterways, coastal and other areas, which also coincides with the annual celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup Weekend and September as National Clean Up Month.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the event aimed to boost the spirit of volunteerism and social harmony in the country by collectively engaging various groups and individuals to organize clean-up activities that will help address the country’s solid waste problem.
“We want to strengthen our local and national clean-up initiatives by adopting the ridge to reef approach in our clean-up activities. More than just creeks and coastal areas, we need to ensure that our mountains and watersheds, roads and sidewalks, parks and vacant lots are also free from trash,” Cimatu said.
Based on the waste mapping of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau’s (EMB) “Basura Patrol” Program, EMB Director Gilbert C. Gonzales said a total of 6,393 violations of littering and dumping of waste in public places, open burning of solid waste and burying of biodegradable or non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas were documented nationwide by the program’s 250 Basura Patrollers.
“We need to put a stop on the continued littering and dumping of waste that are affecting many areas in the country. If we want a clean and healthy environment, we need to work together and be vigilant on violations affecting our surroundings,” Gonzales said.
The National Cleanup Day is observed every third Saturday of September, coinciding with the International Coastal Cleanup Weekend.
The said activity is being done in partnership with other government agencies, including the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, International Coastal Clean Up Philippines, SEED4COM (Let’s do it Philippines), and other organizations.
Meanwhile, the DILG in a directive to local government units (LGUs) said the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day should not just be about the picking up litter along coastlines.
The ICC Day is a worldwide event set every third Saturday and Sunday of September simultaneously held and coordinated globally to enlist support from thousands of volunteers to participate in the clearing of coastlines, rivers, and lakes.
LGUs and volunteers are also encouraged to help in efforts to identify and record the rubbish collected for analysis by pollution specialists.
Information from the data analysis will determine the effects specific materials have on the ocean habitat, and in identifying the best remedies and advocacies to counter water pollution.
According to the DILG, the data that volunteers will write down are relevant contributions in ensuring that our children will have their fair share of a clean and healthy ocean, river or lake in the future.
DILG said LGUs may register at the Ocean Conservancy website (https://sites.google.com/site/iccphilippines/home) or may send Ocean Conservancy an email to signify their interest to join and to request a formal invitation to the ICC event.
In selecting a clean-up area, the DILG urged the LGUs to coordinate with the Provincial/City
Environmental Office, any civic action group, academic institutions and the diving group who will be participating in the ICC.
Some clean-up sites, together with the ones in Metro Manila, are listed on the Ocean Conservancy website.
The DILG also ordered its regional offices to monitor the conduct of clean-up activities in their respective localities and ensure the active participation of their constituents; make certain that LGUs accomplish and submit the Ocean Trash Data form to ICC Philippines; and to participate in the conduct of cleanups and proper recording and submission of data to ICC Philippines.