20,000 volunteers join International Coastal Clean-Up Zambales

Volunteer sorting out the collected materials during the ICC 2013.

Driftwood beach volunteers at barangay Barretto sort out the collected materials during the ICC 2013. (Photo by Mike Templo)

By Rosebeth Bayarong

Olongapo City—Despite the effects of Typhoon Odette, some 20,000 volunteers along the coastline of Zambales joined the International Coastal Clean-Up 2013 last Saturday (September 21, 2013).

In the city of Olongapo, some 8,000 participants trooped to the 18 clean-up sites, while another 10,000 came to clean the Zambales coast line in 25 sites that was distributed in the 13 municipalities of province.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), meanwhile, reported that some 4,000 participants also trooped to the Subic Bay Freeport, making this year as one of the biggest celebrations of the annual coastal clean-up’s history in the country.

“This year the number of clean-up sites also increased tremendously. This is moving forward since it is important to realize that trash is everywhere. We need not look further to the beach. It starts in our community,” Zedrick Avecilla of the ICC committee told the Subicupdater.com.

Last year, some 15,000 volunteers showed up at the annual event.

International Coastal Clean-Up Zambales volunteers data from 2008.

The annual clean-up was organized by the Lighthouse Marina Resort in partnership with local organizations like the Rotary Club of Subic Bay and the local governments. Other organizations such as the Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF) joined last year.

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is held annually every third Saturday of September where people gather on beaches, coasts, rivers, waterways and underwater dive sites all over the world to remove trash and debris and identify their sources.

The Olongapo City counil has declared September 21 as a day for International Coastal Clean-up.

“We are aplnning to have another clean-up this summer. To augment the effort, the city council is studying and ordinance on regular maintenance of septic tanks, as well as, declaring a portion of the bay as fish sanctuary,” councilor Eduardo Piano, chairman of the city’s committee on the environment said.

He said that the city government must enforce all laws on the environment and show “political will.”

ICC reported that last year, 561,633 volunteers along 18,000 miles of coastlines removed 10,149,988 pounds of trash, including 2,117,931 cigarette butts, a million food containers, a million plastic bottles, 600,000 cutlery items, over 300,000 aluminum cans, 4,159 candles, 117 mattresses, 236 toothbrushes, and 40 lottery tickets.

“We joined the activity to make a statement that everyone can contribute to save our environment. The event gives us a better picture of how most of us dispose our waste and hopefully, we learn from the experience,” Patrick Escusa, president of the Batang ‘Gapo People’s Organization, told www.subicupdater.com

He added that residents should do more waste minimization, “re-use and recycling in our households, this way we can truly save our rivers, the bay and the lives that depend on it.”

Last year, the ICC included internal waterways clean up in its program.

The Rotary Club of Subic Bay invited the Rotary Club District 3790 Cluster-4 to adopt the ICC as one of the anchor environment activities. The move expanded the coastal clean up from just two sites inside Subic Bay to the entire coastline of Zambales and the waterways of Olongapo City.

Organizers noted that most of the garbage/debris collected yearly was characterized as household and personal debris, mostly coming from the residential areas of Olongapo. (30)

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