DENR National Capital Region joined forces with the personnel from EMB National Capital Region, Task Force Baseco of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Services (DPS) of the Manila City government, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Barangay 649 and Baseco-Gawad Kalinga, in the cleanup of Baseco beach in Port Area, Manila on Saturday, 19 September 2020, in celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) 2020 on Saturday, 19 September 2020.
The effort resulted in the removal of more than 200 kilograms of trash on the 700 meter stretch of the beach area. While some of the trash did come from the residents of the area, the majority of the recovered trash comes from inland sources, washed ashore only by the combined action of wave currents and changing tides.
As Baseco sits at the mouth of Pasig River, a tidal estuary that stretches more than 25 kilometers long, it receives waters from sources as far as the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges in Rizal Province. The entire river system drains not only the north-eastern (via the San Juan and Marikina River system) and south-eastern part of Metro Manila but parts of Rizal and Laguna Province as well through the Manggahan Floodway and Laguna de Bay.
When residents of the cities and municipalities traversed by the Pasig River become negligent of the trash they generate, this trash, which usually ends up in canals and esteros connected to the river system, reach Baseco beach and other parts of Manila Bay in time, contributing to its further deterioration.
The cleanup thus of Manila Bay, according to DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan “should start inside our homes and not the other way around”. “We need to be mindful of the waste we generate at home and find ways of reducing them because no matter how many cleanups we do on the shores of Manila Bay and its tributaries, we need to understand that these interventions won't do so much until we decide to tackle the issue of waste at its source, and that is our homes and the lifestyle we have adopted”, Director Caancan said.
To celebrate the ICC this year, Director Caancan instructed all officials and employees of the regional office who are at home to do an inventory and analysis of the waste their household generates. “We need to know how much waste our household generates, as well as the type of waste we create daily so we can strategize on ways to lessen our contribution to the pollution of Manila Bay”, Director Caancan said.
The results of the waste analysis and characterization (WACS) of the officials and employees at home will be submitted to Ocean Conservancy and shall form part of the cleanup data of the region. “Safe Oceans Start At Home” is this year’s theme for the ICC 2020.