By Manila Standard Today
Close to 500 volunteers literally dug in to clean up Atimonan’s beaches last week – at least from small foreign objects and trash.
As part of “International Coastal Clean-up Day”, 475 volunteers from the nearby communities decided to help clean up the Atimonan coast.
Receiving containers of water to keep themselves hydrated during the event were enthusiastic beachcombers from the Philippine Coast Guard; schools including Atimonan United Methodist Christian School Atimonan National Comprehensive High School (ANCHS), Leon Guinto Memorial College, and College of Science, Technology and Communication, Inc. (CSTC); Kababaihan, Kabalikatan para sa Kapakanan at Kaunlaran (4K), and officials and residents from Barangays Zone 1,2,3 and 4 – Poblacion, and various non-government organizations (NGOs).
Community passion yields hefty haul
An estimated 1.2 kilometers coastal area yielded around 1,150 kilos of garbage that included plastic water bottles, plastic bags, styrofoam, candy wrappers, fishnets and cans. The garbage was immediately disposed at the municipal landfill in Barangay Inaclagan. Some 15 to 20 tons of coconut husk, bamboo pole and stick, seagrass, and woods were also collected, and buried.
The clean-up activity was led by Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E) and Atimonan’s Municipal Environment and National Resources (MENRO).
“We support these activities to teach students the importance of taking care of our environment,” explained Lucrecia Escritor, head teacher of the ANCHS-science department.
Culture of “malasakit”
In nearby Siokoy Beach in Barangay Cawag, some 150 volunteers from Subic pitched in for “International Coastal Clean-up Day”, led by stakeholders from the Redondo Peninsula Energy, Inc. (RP Energy), Umicore Specialty Chemicals, Manggahan and Mapanao elementary school, municipal and barangay officials from the city.
Coastal clean-up activities are part of A1E and RP Energy’s environmental stewardship programs to help local communities.
“We teach young people the value of environmental stewardship,“ said Jason Gavina, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) officer of RP Energy. “The objective is to develop a culture of “malasakit” for the environment.”
RP Energy’s “Protect the Bay” program is currently building a community of volunteers from business, government and private sector to help curb illegal fishing, improve the livelihood of local fisherfolk, and promote environmental awareness in communities around Subic Bay. The company’s year-round program involves myriad advocacies such as “pawikan”, or sea turtle conservation.