Police, volunteers haul out 50 kilos of trash from Batangas waters

BATANGAS, Philippines – Police and volunteer divers hauled out 50 kilos of trash from Batangas waters as part of a clean-up campaign over the weekend.

Around 80 people gathered on Sunday, February 18, at the Maritime Group Special Waterborne Operations School in Barangay Solo, in Mabini town to help clean not just the coast but the sea through a scuba diving activity.

Dubbed as “Scubasurero,” the Philippine National Police Maritime Group organized the activity in line with its 27th Founding Anniversary.

“We are here today to do our share in freeing the [sea] from any pollution and show our community that marine conservation is a shared responsibility. I hope that people join us in our continuing campaign against human activities that destroy marine resources and help us protect our waters,” said Senior Superintendent Genesis Tolejano. PNP Maritime Group Deputy Director for Administration.

Professional diver and instructor Allan Lao was among those who volunteered for the activity. He and his friends had joined clean-up activities over the past years. 

“I have been a scuba instructor and have taught around the world and this (Mabini) is really one of the best diving spots in the world from among those I’ve seen.  There are plenty pawikan (sea turtles) here and they are the first victims of the trash we throw in the sea,” Lao said.  

The team recovered a variety of trash in its first two dives, including a broken Monobloc chair, a medium-sized luggage, old clothes, and other debris.

The different teams collected a total of 43 sacks of garbage with an estimated weight of 50 kilos – a bigger haul compared to the 40 kilos gathered in 2016, and 30 kilos in 2017. 

PNP Maritime Group Chief Superintendent Rodelio Jocson said there was much that needed be done for communities to understand what it meant to be a maritime nation like the Philippines, which has among the longest coast lines in the world.  

“May pagkukulang talaga kasi dapat bata pa lang may awareness na, alam nila na ang wrapper ng candy ay bawal itapon, plastic yan at hindi nabubulok, dapat marecycle.  'Yung 'buy-in' kailangan ulit-ulitin mo para mag sink-in, ipasok sa puso at pagiisip ng mga kababayan natin that we are a maritime archipelagic nation at kailangan pangalagaan natin ito,” Jocson said.  

(There is really lack of awareness. Children should be aware that they should not throw candy wrappers, plastic, and non-biodegrable, they should be recycles. You should hammer 'buy-in' into them so that it would sink in, and our countrymen would be able to fully understand that we are a maritime archipelagic nation and we should take care of it.)

Coastal municipalities rely on the sea for their livelihood and food security. These are the same waters that keep tourism alive, making its preservation imperative. – Rappler.com