DENR MIMAROPA, partner groups clean up Calapan coastline; share commitment to end plastic pollution


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - MIMAROPA Region joined forces with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army Reservists, Calapan Labor Service Development Cooperative (CALSEDECO), Provincial and City Environmental and Natural Resources Offices, and the local government of Calapan to clean up the 1.8 kilometer coastline of Brgys. Suqui and Lazareto in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, in celebration of Coral Triangle Day and Environment Month, June 22.  

Despite the gloomy weather and occasional rain shower, 280 individuals from the said groups came in full gear to clean the shoreline, and dug out trash from among the thorny bushes lined along the 1.8 km stretch. The activity, which was originally scheduled to last from 6:00 am to 8:00 am, yielded at least 20 sacks of non-biodegradable wastes, such as styrofoam, cigarette butts, plastic packaging, PET bottles, plastic spoons and forks, plastic cups, and straws, in less than two hours. The collected trash was immediately turned over to the local government for proper disposal.

“This just shows how important the value of cooperation is. We were able to finish ahead of time because everybody was on board to take his/her part. We are glad that DENR is not alone in this endeavor,” Regional Director Henry Adornado remarked as he thanked the participants. 

Adornado was designated new Regional Director of MIMAROPA on June 5, 2018. While his calendar was filled up quickly, the director said he made time to personally attend the coastal cleanup to let the people know that they, at the top management, lead the implementation of activities that support the mandate of the agency. 

Coral Triangle Day, held every June 9, is a celebration of the Coral Triangle, considered as the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity. It encompasses the seas of six countries in the Asia Pacific Region, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Philippines. Coastal clean 

On the other hand, the celebration of June as the Philippine Environment Month was declared by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 237, which was signed in 1988 by then President Corazon Aquino. The celebration was made to heighten the environmental consciousness of people and generate greater participation on the protection and conservation of the country’s natural resources.


Committed to end plastic pollution


Coral Triangle Day and Philippine Environment Month carry a single theme: “Plastic Resiliency. Beat Plastic Pollution. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.”

There is a worldwide call to reduce the volume of plastic products that eventually pollute bodies of water and endanger aquatic resources as well as human lives.

At the kickoff of the Environment Month celebration, Secretary Roy Cimatu made an appeal to the public to reduce plastic wastes by using reusable alternatives, such as eco-friendly tumblers and eco-bags. On June 12, Independence Day, Sec. Cimatu also declared that he is “seriously considering” a ban on single-use plastic items in Boracay to address its garbage problem.

In response to this, RD Adornado shared that DENR MIMAROPA has already issued a policy prohibiting the use of single-use cutlery and food containers among its officials and employees. “We follow the lead of Secretary Roy Cimatu in enjoining the public to observe proper waste disposal and refrain from using plastic products, particularly single-use plastics that end up polluting our oceans and destroying our marine resources,” he said. 

During the coastal cleanup, breakfast was served in banana leaves; there were stainless utensils and glasses; and clean water and soap were made available for those who wanted to wash and eat with their hands.

“Kailangan sa atin magsimula, mapaigting at mapalaganap sa buong bansa. Kung tuloy-tuloy ito (ban on using single-use plastics), malamang sa dalawa o tatlong buwan, makikita natin na bababa ang volume ng basura natin,” RD Adornado explained. 

The call of the DENR MIMAROPA chief did not fall on deaf ears as heads of participating agencies signed and expressed their commitment to support the agency’s campaign in ditching single-use plastics.

“Nangangako po kami sa Brgy. Suqui na ipagpapatuloy namin ang aming gawain sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan. At pinag-uusapan na namin ang pag-pasa ng ordinansa na maipagbawal ang plastic sa ating barangay,” said Brgy. Captain Richard Agustin. 

“Plastics can survive in the environment for 500 years. Wala na tayo ng panahon na yun pero hindi na natin kailangang hintayin iyon para kumilos at maisalba ang ating kalikasan para sa ating mga anak at para sa mga susunod na henerasyon,” RD Adornado concluded. ###