The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources reported that around 500 individuals joined the cleanup drive in Barangay Tanza Uno, Navotas City to mark this year’s observance of International Coastal Cleanup.
BFAR National Director Demosthenes Escoto said that this year’s theme: “Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries,” reflects the agency’s appeal for the public to cooperate in maintaining waste-free bodies of water to ensure a thriving fisheries industry,
“All bodies of water are connected, so I hope we can work together for a clean and abundant ocean. I am optimistic that by working together, we can ensure that our oceans and coastal regions continue to be a source of life, inspiration, and prosperity for all,” Escoto said.
He led BFAR’s central and National Capital Region offices and stakeholders from New Era High School, Asian Social Institute, and Lingkod Tao-Kalikasan in the activity, held at the Marine Tree Park in Navotas.
The cleanup, held concurrently with other activities worldwide as part of the celebration, was supported by the local government of Navotas City, the Department of the Interior and Local Government – NCR, and the Metro Manila Development Authority – Navotas.
Escoto noted that the protection of natural resources is a “matter of utmost urgency and global significance,” underscoring the importance of oceans, seas, rivers, and coastal areas for the livelihoods of Filipino fisher folk.
“The livelihood of millions of our countrymen depends on our ocean. So it’s fair to say that when the ocean is clean, fishing is plentiful, and livelihoods are stable,” he said.
Escoto also highlighted their commitment to ocean conservation and protection, with partner institutions expressing their support for the agency’s programs, particularly those related to coastal resource management.
These include the implementation of the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan: The National Search for Outstanding Coastal Communities,” which incentivizes local government units to demonstrate exemplary sustainable fisheries development efforts.
The BFAR has also launched the “Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa” or BASIL program, wherein they rehabilitate minor lakes and reservoirs located in upland and landlocked areas to restore their ecological health and bolster the populations of native and endemic fish species.
The Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry on the other hand, together with various public and private organizations, also participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Day 2023 at the SM by the Bay Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
In a social media post on Saturday, the DA-BPI said that equipped with gloves, sacks, and tongs, their volunteers eagerly picked up debris littering the coastal area, such as pet bottles, discarded clothing, torn cardboard boxes, plastics, and other waste items washed ashore.
The annual event focuses not only on collecting trash washed ashore but also on raising awareness of the negative impacts of water pollution on marine life.
The ICC is a global initiative to maintain and safeguard coastal ecosystems.
The yearly event unifies individuals, communities, and organizations from different countries to work together to clean up and restore the coastal environments.
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