By Ellalyn Ruiz
About 30,000 kilograms of garbage, mostly single-use plastics, have been collected along the Baseco Beach in Manila within just two weeks of cleanup operations.
The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission’s (PRRC) “river warriors” led the cleanup operations last July 8, primarily to save the often-neglected mangrove nursery in Baseco.
A thorough cleanup of the area led to the collection of at least 1,000 sacks of garbage weighing roughly 30,000 kgs, which were mostly single-use plastics, as well as various personal care and household items.
Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia explained that just beyong the shores of the Baseco Beach is a pond which houses the mangrove nurseries of PRRC, and partner-organizations Villar Sipag and Baseco Kabalikat.
However, solid and domestic wastes have made their way to these locations, which affect the water quality and habitat of aquatic species already beginning to thrive there, he added.
“Baseco is at the corner of the Pasig River and Manila Bay. It is a critical area for rehabilitation since it is situated near Manila Bay’s sea wall and its community is susceptible to the effects of flooding and storm surges caused by typhoons or heavy rains,” Goitia explained.
“This is the reason why together and in partnership with Senator Cynthia Villar, non government organizations, and inter-agency partners, we are planting mangroves, which serve as buffer zones to protect our people and the environment from potential threats of calamities and natural disasters,” he also said.
According to the PRRC river warriors, the wastes are washed ashore to the mangrove sites by the strong current of Manila Bay, particularly during high tide.
To sustain the cleanup efforts, aside from the daily cleanup and monitoring, the PRRC river warriors have installed net traps along the perimeter of its mangrove nursery to abate the influx of floating solid waste.
Last June 25, PRRC and its government and non-government partners also conducted a massive tree-planting activity around the mangrove nursery.