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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bohol draws volunteers For trash-free seas

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol Sept 17 (PIA) -- Thousands of from all walks of life converged on the island’s coastal areas September 17 to do each of their little shares in freeing the seas from trash which has threatened both marine and human environment.

That day, the Boholanos joined international organization Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up Day and put in the warm bodies for the earth’s largest sea health volunteer effort. 

This year, the ICC adopts Trash-free seas as its global theme, a vision which organizers hope would inspire communities to do its share in keeping the mentality of ridding the seas of garbage.

Spearheaded by the Bohol Coastal Resource Management Task Force (BCRMTF) and the Capitol, the 2011 coastal Clean-up started as early as 6:00 am and truckloads of trash hauled from the coastline clean-up volunteers started their long way to the Tagbilaran City dumpsites. 

That too, volunteers; some of them as young as elementary pupils to as old as senior citizens scoured the beaches, coastal areas, tideflats, mangrove forests, riverbanks, streams, canals and drains to pick up trashes which would, in a way or another be washed down to the coastlines and off to the seas.

The rains that came pouring Friday evening also helped wash the inland trash nearer to the coastlines, which made it easy to locate.

Rain washed trash have always been the culprits in closed canals and storm drains, city janitors said, while admitting they have been instructed to make sure these plastics are picked before they fall off into the drains.

Volunteers, some clearly protected with the slime by wearing rubber gloves, others spearing garbage with pointed sticks, scooping garbage on the water surface with improvised nets and treating waist deep waters to pick cellophanes entangled in shallow reefs. 

Trash, mostly non biodegradable from small cigarette butts to wine bottles, from cellophane bags to broken appliances, from discarded automobile oil filters to whole truck hoods, from entangled fishing lines to torn up nets and condoms to adult diapers get listed into the standardized data cards which is analyzed to help policy makers come up with measures to address the problem.

In Bohol, local government units and schools mobilized their human resources to walk specific segments of coastal areas and free them from any debris, never forgetting to tally every imaginable trash and haul them in sacks for proper disposal; to landfills and away from the shorelines.

In fact, in Bohol, dive shops and scuba enthusiasts also organized themselves to scour the reef areas and pick cellophanes, shampoo sachets including crown of thorn which prey on corals.

Coast guard volunteers and fishermen also scour the seas and coastlines on boats to pick up floating debris from plastic bottles to carcasses of dead animals.

“This transparent plastic looks exactly like jelly fish, which some large fish eat. When they eat this, you can imagine a slow and painful death for the sea animals,” a fisherman balancing on his boat’s prow about to tie his boat on a public fish landing said, while unloading a sack half full of plastics, fishing buoys and Styrofoam bits.

In several areas, the clean-up also included mangrove planting activities and impromptu beach picnics.

But, several volunteers have noted that even with the growing number of volunteers that Bohol has mustered every year, the bulk of non-biodegradable garbage has not been lessened.

“This may tell us that one day in a year clean-up is never enough, while an emphatic campaign on addressing the problem at source may work much more effectively,” a barangay official of Poblacion 11 in Tagbilaran City said. (30)

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