The sustained cleanup operations ordered by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada along the coast of Manila Bay continued on its sixth day Tuesday with as much as eight truckloads of garbage collected so far by city hall workers.
This as Estrada is again set to lead on Sept. 16 the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the world’s largest annual preservation and protection event and volunteer effort for beaches and waterways.
“This is again an opportunity for us not only in the City of Manila but also in the entire country to show to the world our concern to the environment, to our seas and oceans,” Estrada said.
He stressed, however, that caring for the environment should not be done only in one special day but year-round, similar to the city government of Manila’s aggressive and continuous cleanup of the shorelines of Manila Bay.
“What it would have been like if every single human being, every human soul, would contribute to preserving our oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers? Imagine its positive impact to conservation of precious marine life and slowing down climate change,” Estrada pointed out.
During the 2015 ICC Day in Manila, Estrada led 8,351 volunteers and 700 Manila City Hall employees and garbage haulers, who were later joined by 1,000 others from 20 private groups, in cleaning up the Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard.
Held every third Saturday of September, ICC Day was started by the US-based environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy in 1986 to engage volunteers in collecting marine debris from the world’s waterways. Around 90 countries, including the Philippines, regularly participate in this event.
Since Thursday, July 27, at the height of Typhoon “Gorio,” Estrada tasked the city’s Department of Public Services to clean up the Baywalk area that had been swamped by tons and tons of garbage swept away by heavy rains.
As of Monday afternoon, around 38 cubic meters of trash equivalent to eight truckloads have been hauled off by DPS personnel working in two shifts every day from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to DPS chief Belle Borromeo.
The trash haul included glass and plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts, soda cans and eating utensils, grocery bags, straws and stirrers, plastic bottle caps, plastic lids, take out containers, beverage bottles and plastic cups.
“We’re doing this on a daily basis, even without a storm,” Borromeo said, explaining that huge volume of trash usually wash up to the shores during monsoon rains.
On July 2016, the city government recorded its biggest haul of rain-swept garbage along the shores of Manila Bay at 27 truckloads or 108 tons, right after the onslaught of Typhoon “Butchoy.”