The DENR National Capital Region, through its North Field Office (NFO) led the celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on Saturday, 18 September 2021 with the conduct of a “cleanup in a bubble” on the coast of Navotas City.

Joining the NFO personnel and Estero Rangers in their ‘cleanup bubble’ are members of the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Army, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) of Navotas City, and Mother Earth Foundation – a community-based NGO.

Together, the team collected, sorted, and recorded a total of 1,043 sacks of trash and other debris washed ashore on the coast of Barangays Tangos North and Tangos South Navotas City.

DENR National Capital Region limited the participation of the public in this year’s ICC due to the increased health risk posed by COVID-19 to would-be volunteers.

“We have received numerous queries from different individuals and organizations to participate in the ICC”, Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan revealed. “But we have to politely turn these offers down as we want to avoid mass gatherings at this point”, she added. “Instead of heading out to their houses and mingling with other coastal cleanup volunteers, we’ve encouraged people to organize ‘cleanup bubbles’ in the safety of their homes and communities”, Director Caancan said.

Cleanup in a bubble, according to Director Caancan, reduces the risk of exposure to the virus as it is designed to be small, localized, and with your immediate family members as participants. “Most of the trash that we find in Manila Bay, after all, comes from our houses and communities”, Director Caancan explained. “So, we should do the cleanup in our homes and communities as we get to know the type and amount of trash that we produce and do something to reduce our contribution to the pollution load in our waterways”, she added.

According to For. Daryll Olga Arzadon, NFO Deputy Chief Environment Officer (DCEO), other barangays of Navotas City also organized cleanup bubbles to show their support in the celebration of ICC 2021 and the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. “We have received reports from officials of barangays San Roque, Bagumbayan North, San Jose, Sipac Almacen, Bangkulasi, Navotas West and Daanghari that they, too, conducted cleanups in their respective localities”, DCEO Arzadon said.

The ICC is held every third Saturday of September under Presidential Proclamation No. 470, s. 2003. It aims to spread awareness on the issue of marine pollution and provide verifiable data on the type and amount of trash that end up in our oceans.