GenSan Coastal Cleanup Brings All Faiths Together

In observance of the International Coastal Cleanup Day last Sept. 15, more than 300 Muslim and Christian volunteers banded themselves in cleaning up the shoreline of four coastal villages in the city.

The activity was spearheaded by the non-governmental organization (NGO), Spectrum, Inc., with the support of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, and RD Foundation, and in collaboration with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

"We were able to collect plastics, styro foams, tin cans, empty bottles, disposable diapers, and other residual wastes," said Dennis Callo, program manager of Spectrum, in an interview.

He said the organizers were elated by the positive response of the stakeholders to join in the cleanup, which signified that many constituents of the city care for the environment.

Public school teachers, policemen, senior citizens, students, private companies, NGOs, barangay and purok officers and GenSan local government staff participated in the activity held at the shoreline of barangays Buayan, Baluan, Bula, and Dadiangas South.

Callo said they encouraged the residents of the coastal villages to participate in the cleanup.

"We are happy to see lots of them joining us in this activity to protect our environment," he said. "It is important that the constituents themselves should be in the front line in cleaning up our shores."

"And we hope that they will do the same often even (if) we do not have this cleanup drive," Callo added.

Omar Mamalupong, a traditional Maguindanaoan leader of Sitio Sarif Mucsin in Barangay Baluan in this city, said he mobilized his community members to participate in the activity.

"We see Muslims and Christians engaged in this noble endeavor of protecting our environment," he said in the vernacular.

"We took the occasion to launch "Project Reduce," a year-long undertaking that seeks to involve and empower communities, LGUs (local government units), and other stakeholders in a multi-sector participation towards the conservation and protection of Sarangani Bay through extensive waste collection, educating proper segregation, and integrating plastic waste recycling and upgrading technology," Callo said.

Among the key activities of the project are coastal cleanups, community organizing, capacity-building, school and community-based competitions on proper waste segregation, and a convention that seeks to educate the public in reducing plastics pollution.

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