MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) will lead the observance of the 2021 International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) in Metro Manila this Saturday, 18 September 2021.

Dubbed “ICC in a Bubble”, this year’s cleanup activity encourages volunteers to organize “cleanup bubbles” instead, i.e., cleanups are done in their home or community while observing minimum public health protocols and avoiding the gathering of no more than ten (10) people per team.

The cleanup bubble set-up, according to DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan, is in keeping with the recent IATF guidelines on restricting the movement of people outside their homes to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Due to health and safety concerns, we will be limiting the participation of the public to our cleanup activities in our coastal areas and major waterways during ICC day”, RED Caancan announced.

DENR National Capital Region is set to conduct cleanups at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP); Tanza Marine Tree Park and the shorelines of Barangays Tangos North and the South Coastal Area in Navotas City; Baywalk area in Roxas Boulevard, Manila; and the Gloria Maris area at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City. The participation of the public in these cleanups, however, will be restricted.

As an alternative, RED Caancan calls on those who want to take part in the ICC to conduct cleanups in their homes, backyards, or immediate surroundings instead.

“Volunteers can still participate in the ICC, only this time we ask them to do their cleanup in the safety of their homes and company of their immediate family members”, RED Caancan said.

“We have done this last year, although we did not call it ‘cleanup bubble’ at the time”, she explained. “Our volunteers collected, segregated, and recorded each type of trash they’ve found inside their homes and submitted the same to us online.  We will just be repeating the process actually, under the GCQ Alert Level 4 issued by the IATF this time around”, RED Caancan added.

Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, DENR National Capital Region was able to mobilize 3,729 volunteers spread out in different locations in Metro Manila. They were able to collect and record a total of 1,169,832 items of trash with a combined weight of 29,183.45 kilograms based on records from www.coastalcleanupdata.org.

Food wrappers (candy, chips, etc.) topped the list of items collected at 65,141 pieces. Discarded PPEs, such as gloves and face masks, on the other hand, reached a total of 6,029.

Proclamation No. 244, S. 1993 declared the month of September as National Clean-Up Month, while Presidential Proclamation No. 470, s. 2003 designated the 3rd Saturday of September as ICC Day. Both observances seek to encourage citizens and communities to support efforts intent on protecting the environment and addressing pollution.

The celebration of the ICC is also in line with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) with the message, "The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want."

“Our participation and continued vigilance amid the threat of COVID-19, is a testament to DENR’s commitment in upholding the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology”, RED Caancan declared. “We at DENR need to step up in our efforts to protect the environment and complement the sacrifices our medical front liners are making in their battle against the virus.  We have a battle to win in Manila Bay.”

DENR National Capital Region is leading efforts in Metro Manila to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay and its tributaries.