Int'l cleanup day coincides with Siquijor's celebration of independence
by Rizalie A. Calibo
Siquijor (20 September) -- As the province celebrates the triumph of independence this week, another "greatest event ever" happened Sunday (September 15) at the Siquijor Pier, that once more marks the unity of Siquijodnons.
An International Underwater and Coastal Clean-up is done in one of the 25 dive-sites in Siquijor province - the newly renovated port of the municipality of Siquijor.
The clean-up was organized by the Siquijor Dive Safari and Sea Explorers, both located at Barangay Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor as one of the activities of the PADI's Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education) in observance of the International Coastal Clean-up Day in September 15.
It also gets the participation of the provincial government led by Provincial Governor Orlando "Shane" Fua himself, some national government offices and other volunteers.
"The team work, enthusiasm, motivation and hardwork that everybody did can not be described in words," says organizer and branch manager of Sea Explorers-Sqiuijor Ronald van de Vooren in his report.
September 15 is declared as International Clean-up Day pursuant to Proclamation No. 470, series of 2003. It is a world wide event that takes place in over 175 countries which aims to remove marine debris from the shores, waters and underwater and waterways, increase awareness on marine debris crisis and its adverse impact on the people and environment, and give an importance of a clean, healthy and sustainable marine environment.
On this day, a total of 4,325 kilos solid waste is recovered in Siquijor, 1,200 kilos is from the 3.5 km long beach by the 54 grade six pupils from the Siquijor Central Elementary School, 14 members of the Knights of Columbus club and 37 members of the Seaside Arrastre Services MPC and 3,125 kilos from the underwater world around the pier by 48 members of the 8-dive teams in a length of 1.9 kilometers.
The coastal clean-up starts at 7:00 o'clock in the morning while the two dives around the Siquijor pier are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The culmination program is done at 2:30 in the afternoon with the local officials, the organizers and the volunteers participating. Announcement of winning dive team and price is also given. The winning team is green team composed of Tata Fernando Relacion, Roichard REvilles, David Lumsduen, Carly Hursh, Vanilia Magdale and Abner Ligutom with 1,442 kg. recovered.
Participants are also given certificates of recognition.
"For me It was an unforgettable day and I am proud of the Siquijor community," finally says Vooren while thanking everyone for their participation.
The effort is in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's environment agenda of the Medium-Term Development Plan (MTDP) which she earlier unveiled and which she said the Cabinet approved for updating last Tuesday (Septemebr 11).
The President said the plan includes four areas namely, reforestation; scrubbing the land and air of pollutants that endanger the health of our citizens; energy independence; and preservation of reefs and waterways and wildlife.
"We must also build up our environment as a reflection of our commitment to our quality of life - people need to breathe clean air and swim in clean water while we also build manufacturing and bridges to span our waters. This will enhance our national security, lift up our economy, and preserve our environment," she said. (PIA) [top]