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Despite incessant rains the evening before, volunteers showed up in various cleanup sites in Metro Manila to join the observance of the 34th installment of the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) on Saturday, 21 September, 2019.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan was glad with the turnout of volunteers as it shows that the public now is much more aware of the importance of their participation in cleanups, especially in the context of the on-going implementation of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project.

“The number of volunteers who participated this year only proves that Metro Manilans do have an increased sense of awareness and readiness to fulfill their civic duties”, RED Caancan said.

The volunteers this year came from different national government agencies—including the agencies subject of the Writ of Mandamus issued by the Supreme Court—local government units (LGUs), business sector, and civil society organizations.

RED Caancan said that the ICC this year is very timely as it enabled DENR, through its partner organizations and volunteers, to gather much needed data on pollution loading in Manila Bay. The ICC requires volunteers to act as “citizen scientists” and record the trash they have recovered in standardized data forms. The data collected will then be compiled by DENR National Capital Region and presented to Sec. Roy A. Cimatu and the Manila Bay Task Force for reference in crafting plans and programs.

The data will later be submitted to the Ocean Conservancy, the Washington based non-profit organization that started the ICC, for validation and publication.

There were six (6) major clean-up sites for the ICC this year. These are the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA); SM By the Bay and the shores of Gloria Maris inside the CPP Complex in Pasay City; the riverbanks of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila, and the aplaya or beach area of Baseco in Tondo, Manila which served as the main clean-up site.

The Baseco clean-up is in partnership with the City of Manila.

Gracing the activity are Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair, Senator Cynthia A. Villar; MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim; Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and Undersecretary for Field Operations, Ground Commander of Manila Bay Task Force and Supervising Undersecretary for Manila Bay Coordinating Office Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna.

In addition, DENR National Capital Region, led the conduct of simultaneous cleanups of a number esteros and creeks in Metro Manila in coordination with the concerned local government units.

These are in the Bangkulasi River in Navotas City; Batasan River in Malabon City; Tunasan River and Sucat-Buli River in Muntinlupa City; Sto. Rosario River, Sta. Ana River, Panday-Paltok River and Pateros River in Pateros; Lower Bicutan Creek in Taguig City; Maricaban Creek in Pasay City; Estero de Tripa de Gallina in Paranaque City; Kalayaan-Kasunduan Creek and Tullahan River (Nova Proper) in Quezon City; Daang Paa Creek in Pasig City; Tumana Creek in Marikina City; and, Lingunan Creek, Veinte Reales Creek, De Castro Creek, Marulas Creek, and Dulong Tangke Creek in Valenzuela City

Last year’s ICC in Metro Manila was able to gather around 7,000 volunteers and collected a total of 5,918 sacks containing 355,071 pieces of trash from all cleanup sites. Topping the type of trash collected are food wrappers, and other plastic pieces.

DENR-NCR hopes to do better this year and recover more trash from Manila Bay.

The ICC is held every third Saturday of September in the Philippines, in keeping with Presidential Proclamation No. 470, series of 2003.