16 September 2010

Subic Freeport joins int’l study on marine trash

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has urged the free port community here to sign up for a coastal cleanup drive that will be undertaken in connection with an international study on the global problem of marine trash.

The cleanup will be held on September 25 at the two-kilometer beachfront along the Waterfront Road here in observance of International Coastal Clean-Up Day when hundreds of thousands of volunteers in different parts of the world will spend a day picking up marine trash and recording information on its volume and makeup.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said the activity will help policy makers draw better solutions to the problem on marine trash, with the recorded data going to Ocean Conservancy, a non-stock, non-profit organization founded in 1972 to identify global marine threats.

Ocean Conservancy, which pushes for sound practical policies to protect the world’s oceans, has tied up with the Lighthouse Marina Resort here to spearhead the Subic event.

Lighthouse manager Argee Gomez said organizers hope to draw more than a thousand participants in this event, which he described as “not just about removing trash and debris from waterways and beaches.”

“The International Coastal Clean-Up focuses on the need for marine conservation and raising awareness and education among different sectors of society, particularly coastal communities who directly benefit from marine resources,” Gomez explained.

The Subic event, Gomez said, will start at 6:00 a.m. and will include the actual clean-up, waste segregation, data collection, and trash hauling. There will also be an on-site photo contest that will be open to all photography enthusiasts.

In the afternoon, an eco-forum will be held at the Admiral Hall of the Lighthouse to discuss the latest issues on waste management and environmental protection. This will also be attended by officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as well as local and foreign conservationists.

A beach party complete with guest bands and DJs will cap the event in the evening, when organizers will also make a report on the trash collection data and announce the winners in the photo contest.

In support of the cleanup drive, Arreza said the SBMA has pledged both manpower and equipment, with garbage collection trucks to be dispatched along with personnel from the SBMA Ecology Center, Law Enforcement Department, and Harbor Patrol.

At the same time, Arreza expressed gratitude to the private sector “for taking the initiative to protect our waters.”

“They know how important Subic Bay is to the community,” Arreza noted.

He added that marine conservation has ranked foremost in the SBMA agenda since the agency’s creation in 1992. “We have been stressing that without the bay, there would be no free port,” Arreza said.

The Subic Bay cleanup project is also supported by the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, the Rotary Club of Cubao West, the Philippine Marketing Association of Zambales, Moonbay Marina Complex, Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Greater Subic Bay Tourism Bureau, and Ideal Niche Business Solutions.

For inquiries and registration, the organizers can be reached at (047) 252-5000. (SBMA Corporate Communications)