Volunteers begin weeklong Subic Bay coastal cleanup
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT —Around 200 volunteers on Monday (Sept. 13) kicked off a week-long coastal cleanup as part of the mini-festival celebrating the bounty of the sea here.
In a statement, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said the event involves onshore, offshore and underwater cleanup, as well as a series of lectures on waste management.
Wilma Eisma, SBMA chairperson and administrator, said the activities for the festival dubbed “Biay Dagat ” were approved on condition that these would comply with the existing strict health and safety protocols.
Biay Dagat comes from the native Ayta Ambala term meaning “blessing of the sea.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the health of people and the health of the economy. It has also adversely affected the health of the environment because of increased use of disposable masks and face shields that are sometimes improperly disposed of, thus ending up in sewers, rivers and the sea,” Eisma said.
She said there is an urgent need to “reverse this trend, remove trash in our waters, and help Mother Nature to also heal itself.”
Amethya dela Llana, SBMA Ecology Center manager, said the festival was launched in 2019 but was cancelled last year due to the ongoing restrictions.
Dela Llana said the event this year pushed through but in adaptation to the “new normal.”
“We targeted only 50 percent of the 2019 Biay Dagat attendees, or only around 200 participants this year. In 2019, there were 418 participants from 45 Subic Freeport locators,” Dela Llana said, adding that the culmination of the fest will take place on Sept. 17
The trash collected during the cleanup will be segregated and recorded to be used as a basis to determine the extent of pollution along the coast and on the bay.