NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur, Sept. 27 (PIA) - In celebration of the International Coastal Clean-Up Day, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) led the first ever underwater coastal clean-up dubbed as "SCUBASURERO" along the coastline of Sulvec Fish Sanctuary in Barangay Sulvec here on September 25.
Scuba divers and environmental warriors from the Provincial Government Dive Center, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Ilocos Sur, local government unit (LGU) of Narvacan and barangay Sulvec, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, and non-government organizations such as the Aquatic Rehabilitation and Conservation Organization (ARCO) and Master SG Corporation collected a total of 424 kilograms (kg) of garbage during the activity.
"Garbage such as cloths, fuel hose, shoes, diapers, plastic bags, wall clock, trolley bag, bottles, plastic bottles, fish net, tin cans, ropes, galvanized iron sheets, and slippers were collected from the area," said PENRO designated information officer Rodelia Angyaen.
In an interview, PENR Officer Rosemarie Jornacion said that the activity was proposed by one of their forest rangers in the office.
"During the coral assessment and bleach patrolling conducted by PENRO-Ilocos Sur, they observed that there are wastes underwater. It was timely that we were mandated to submit our activities for the International Coastal Clean-up Day being conducted every third week of September. So this was proposed by our diver, Forest Ranger Jerwin Arce," she said.
She added that the activity will not only help clean the ocean for the aquatic resources to live in but will eventually provide a sustainable source of food for fisherfolks in the area.
"This was organized in response to our objective, which is to clean the increasing marine debris in some parts of the ocean within our jurisdiction. If the ocean is clean, then we preserve it for a sustainable source of food for fisherfolks particularly in this time of pandemic," she said.
"Hindi lang ang DENR ang may responsibility to protect and preserve our environment, everyone is involved, dahil tayo ang kalikasan," she added.
She further added that with the success of the first underwater coastal clean-up in Narvacan, she assured that they will continue to conduct this activity in the coastal areas in the entirety of Ilocos Sur.
After the clean-up, awarding of cash prizes sponsored by Governor Ryan Luis Singson was also carried out.
On the Heaviest Collected Debris, the ARCO and Master SG (Scuba) with a total of 104 kg of garbage collected ranked first while the Philippine Army (Snorkel) with a total of 89 kg of garbage and the Provincial Government Dive Center (Scuba) with a total of 40 kg of garbage collected ranked second and third places, respectively.
On the Most Unique Collected Garbage, the ARCO won collecting a powerbank from the area and on the Best Surface Tenders Support Team, it was awarded to the Philippine Coast Guard.
Moreover, PENRO Technical Services Chief Janet Pascua encouraged the public, with the presence of the LGU along with the barangay officials, to be responsible citizens and must take part in protecting and preserving the environment.
"Sana iuwi nila ang mga basura nila tuwing pupunta at magpicnic sa dagat kasi responsibilidad natin na tulungan ang bawat isa sa paglinis at pagprotekta ng ating natural resources," she said. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ/PIA Ilocos Sur)