‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’: Massive clean-up of Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 1, 2019   •   2517

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

MANILA, Philippines — Around 5,301 sacks of garbage were collected on Sunday (March 31) in the ‘Battle for Rivers and Esteros’ — a massive clean-up drive of Manila Bay.

Waterways leading to Manila Bay were filled with piles of waste.

Some volunteers used small boats to collect trash while others needed to use cranes and backhoes.

Various groups, government agencies, and residents participated in the cleaning of the waterways that lead to Manila Bay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said cleaning the waterways is a step toward cleaning the rivers leading to the bay.

“Ang Parañaque River natin ay isa sa medyo maduming river na dumidiretso sa Manila Bay. Kailangang linisin natin ang Parañaque River, pero ang Parañaque River hindi natin malilinis kung hindi natin isama ang mga estero na pumupunta sa Parañaque River, (The Parañaque River is among the polluted rivers that lead to Manila Bay. We need to clean that. But we cannot do so if we will not clean first the waterways leading to Parañaque River) he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior of Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año recommends relocating all informal settlers living along the waterways.

He said cleaning Manila Bay is for the sake of the future generation and that it is time to take action.

“Alam ko sa ginagawa nating ito marami tayong nasasagasaan, Mayroong sasama ang loob , pero wala tayo magagwa dahil wala nang panahon, (I know that our activities might upset some groups. They might protest but there’s nothing we can do about it. There is no time),” he said.

Residents who volunteered in the clean-up believe this will help improve their barangay.

Among the rivers that were cleaned include Tullahan, Tinejeos, Pasig, Navotas, Parañaque and San Juan.

Amy Gallarte, a resident of Barangay. Tumana, Marikina City said that cleaning the waterways can help prevent flooding in their area.

“Kailangan po kasi natin ang kalinisan lalong-lalo na po ang creek. Kasi pag nagbara ang creek hindi po dadaloy ang tubig, makukulong po iyan, (We need cleanliness especially in the waterways. Because once it gets blocked, water will get stuck there) she said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

From greeting cards to abaca face masks, local company joins COVID-19 fight

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2020

In response to the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs), a local company in Misamis Oriental decided to make face masks out of abaca.

The transition has not been easy, according to Neil Rafisura, president of Salay Handmade Products Industry, Inc.

It takes numerous and tedious process in order to create a face mask out of abaca. This is a challenge for Neil especially with the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

They are used to creating greeting cards and other similar products. It never crossed their minds before that their company would make any PPEs such as face masks. However, that did not stop them from helping the country’s frontliners in their fight against the COVID-19 virus.

“At first it’s very challenging because ang skills namin ay hindi ready (our skills were not ready), it involved a lot of sewing but then there are a few workers who know how to sew, so tinawag ko sila at nag-experiment kami, (so I called them and we did an experiment),” he said.

Based on initial research abaca face masks are seven times better than cloth face masks. Even though it will not surpass surgical and N95 face masks yet, Neil is optimistic that the abaca face masks would help frontliners and even ordinary citizens against the virus.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 10 said this is a great start for further research. They are also encouraging experts to look into the potential of abaca face massks.

“We are calling researchers kung gusto niyo mag-research about mask (if you want to research about mask) why not study with abaca face mask kasi mayroon na siyang initial study baka maging potential talaga at effective na face mask itong abaca, (because there is already an initial study and abaca face mask might have a potential and might be more effective)” according to DOST-10 Science Research Specialist 1 Julie Ann Baculio.

The abaca face masks is environmental-friendly, reusable and can be hand-washed. It is sold for P90 apiece. AAC (with reports from Weng Fernandez)

LOOK: Drone footage of largest green turtle gathering in Great Barrier Reef

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2020

Researchers of the Raine Island Recovery Project has captured a drone footage of the largest green turtle gathering in the Great Barrier Reef.

Footage of thousands of green turtles were captured in Raine Island by researchers through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Raine Island is known as the world’s largest green turtle nesting site.

Green turtles are known to migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched. They are classified as endangered species due to the loss of nesting beaches, hunting, and over-harvesting of their eggs.

Researchers found that using UAVs is a more efficient and accurate way to document the said endangered species.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said in a media release that more accurate data can contribute in saving marine life and their habitat.

“We’re taking action to improve and rebuild the island’s nesting beaches and building fences to prevent turtle deaths, all working to strengthen the island’s resilience and ensure the survival of our northern green turtles and many other species,” he said.

The Raine Recovery Projects aims to protect and restore the island’s critical habitat. AAC

Why corals matter: PH celebrates Coral Triangle Day

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2020

Did you know that corals are not rocks? They aren’t plants either.

Corals are animals. At a glance, we picture corals as uniquely-shaped rocks with seaweed-like leaves but in reality, corals are composed of tiny creatures called ‘polyps’.

Coral polyps are tiny organisms that are more closely related to sea anemones and jellyfishes.

What do they do exactly?

Corals serve as home to numerous sea creatures. It also protects coastlines to dissipate huge waves. Scientists can also determine prehistoric climate patterns by studying coral reefs which can make a huge impact on how we should live in the present.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippines is part of the Coral Triangle which is a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is considered as the center of global marine diversity.

The Coral Triangle covers areas in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands. It is the home of 2.5 million hectares of coral reefs, 500 species of corals and 1,763 reef species.

In celebration of Coral Triangle Day, the DENR sets out to raise awareness on the importance of corals and the Coral Triangle in the country.

“There are 130 million people directly dependent on its marine natural resources,” the DENR said.

What can we do?

CleanSeas Pilipinas reiterated the importance of preserving coral reefs especially when climate change and pollution in the ocean continue to threat marine life.

Here are some of the actions we can do to help save the coral reefs:

  • Don’t touch coral reefs!
  • Use reef-safe sunscreens
  • Don’t purchase corals from gift shops
  • Volunteer in local beach or reef cleanups

“Protecting them is essential to food security as coral reefs contribute to 70% of fishery production in the world,” the organization said. –AAC

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