Participants from different government agencies and private sectors.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the month of the ocean with the theme “Free the sea from marine debris”, the DENR Region 11 with PENRO-Davao del Norte spearheaded the conduct of coastal cleanup within the vicinities of Tambo, Villarica and Camudmud, Babak District, Island Garden City of Samal (IGACoS) and reef cleanup in the vicinities of Coral Garden, Talicud Island, Kaputian District, IGACoS. About 500 participants for coastal cleanup and 21 divers from DENR-R 11, PENRO-DDN, ERDB-ARDEC, DA-BFAR, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, PNP Maritime Group, PNP Davao del Norte, Private Companies, Divers’ Association/Groups, Media Outlets, LGU IGACoS and PLGU Davao del Norte last May 22, 2019.

Diver Casey Clark Sumalinog of ERDB-ARDEC finds a water bottle in the reef of Mansud wall dive site.

In his message during the program, Davao del Norte PENRO Officer Forester Victor T. Billones said, “The underwater debris has a negative effect on the marine ecosystem that seriously affects the livelihood and health of the community near bodies of water”. He also added that this minor effort of conducting coastal and reef cleanup activity may not greatly lessen the amount of garbage in the ocean but may significantly stretch the dissemination of information regarding the importance of proper garbage disposal.

The “scubasurero” garbage collection was successfully done gathering a total of 1,836 trashes accumulated from bottle caps, cutlery, cups and plates (plastic and foam), beverage bottles (glass, can and plastic), grocery bags, diapers, slippers, fishing gears and other debris. Food wrappers comprised the majority (82.68%) of the collected garbage and was the highest contributor among the list.

Some of the collected debris from surface and under water collection.

As the program ended, Forester Myrna Erlinda Arbiol, DENR Region 11 Chief of Conservation and Development Division pointed out that there are surface water garbage patches larger than the state of Hawaii. According to For. Arbiol, this alarming issue can be diminished through this simple act of gathering all possible stakeholders with facility, equipment and funds to combine efforts and give awareness to protect and conserve marine resources. She ended her message by leaving a quote from a famous Chinese proverb that said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“. Joan Grace T. Yamas, ARDEC