PDI joins Hands on Manila volunteers in clean-up of Freedom IslandBy Fe Zamora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Empty packets of instant 3-in-1 coffee and Boy Bawang native snacks turned out to be a constant litter when some 1, 230 volunteers scoured the shoreline of Freedom Island at the edge of Manila Bay for the annual Servathon 2012 recently.
Even Junie del Mundo, president of Hands On Manila and chair of Servathon 2012, noted this. “I’ve never seen so many wrappers of Boy Bawang,” Del Mundo said, referring to the popular native snacks of corn kernel fried in garlic.
Television host-actor Marc Nelson, a regular volunteer of Hands on Manila also expressed shock at the amount of discarded plastics found on Freedom Island.
“I hope people would realize the adverse effects of throwing away plastics. We should be more careful,” he said.
Volunteers from 21 corporations, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer of the Inquirer Group of Companies, collected some 5,000 kilos of garbage – roughly the weight of 5 cars – consisting mostly of styrofoam, plastics, assorted footwear, tootpaste tubes, shampoo sachets and palm-size foil packets of assorted instant food and drinks, like coffee, cereal oats, chocolate.
Remarkably absent from among the mounds of garbage was the Tetra Pack that is used to package retail assorted fruit juices.
A bigger, thicker version of the instant coffee foil packets, the Tetra Pack used to pose a big problem in garbage management until an NGO started recycling the material into ladies’ bag.
Now on its 7th year, the annual ‘Servathon’ was concentrated mainly in mainly cleaning up the shoreline of Freedom Island, a 635.14-hectare sanctuary for more than 80 species of local migratory birds.
In the past, Servathon volunteers were distributed in several projects. Last year, for instance, the Inquirer volunteers were assigned to repaint the walls and ceiling of a half-way home for runaway girls in Pandacan, Manila.
The Freedom Island, deemed as Las Pinas – Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area, considered for government reclamation.
Roy Velez, chairman of the Save Freedom Island Movement, said the entertainment center, port, business park, roads, and universities similar to the Mall of Asia Complex, would be built on the reclaimed Freedom Island.
Velez said the reclamation would most likely lead to more floods since Freedom island’s parallel cities (the 8 barangays in Paranaque and the 14 barangays in Las Pinas) are considered ’low-lying grounds.’
“Pag nareclaim ang island, matatakpan ang 2 ilog sa Paranque at Las Pinas, the cities’ major tributaries. If matatapkpan ang estero, maiipon ito at di kakayanin ang volume, tataas ang tubig, babahain ang Las Piñas at Parañaque.,” Velez said.
The companies who participated in Servathon 2012 included: BPI foundation, CIBO, Converge Asia, Inc., EON, FEU, Forum K of Entrepreneurs Organization, HSBC, JP Morgan, LBC FOundation, Megaworld Foundation, Inc., One Meralco Foundation, Ortigas & Company, Pancake House, PDI, Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc (PTC), Rockwell Land Corporation, Romulo Law Offices, Senate of the Philippines, Thomson Reuters, True Value and Wells Fargo.
Hands on Manila is in partnership with the Save Freedom Island Movement, Earth Island Institute Philippines and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-NCR.