YOUTH leaders and students from the different villages in Tuba, Benguet, formed Aqua Guard in a bid to protect their rivers and other waterways during an environmental youth summit under the Ridge to Reef Program held in Baguio City on July 5 and 6.
The group was formed as their commitment during the summit which was conducted by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) Baguio led by Rainier Balbuena together with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cordillera.
Villages that have participated the summit are Nangalisan, Tabaan Norte, Poblacion, San Pascual, and Tadiangan.
“Our river is now polluted due to the activities of some residents. We would like also to influence our fellow youth to join us in our advocacy in guarding our rivers against any destruction,” said Elvin Valeriano, a youth leader from Tadiangan village.
The participants have also presented their work plan in their own villages through their jingles and slogans which all pertain to the river protection. Participants said the pollution of rivers in their area were caused by some residents of Baguio City.
Senior environmental management specialist Glea Lagon said there were some garbage that were thrown in the river which are killing river species.
“Do you want to take a bath in a dirty river in the future? We should take a move now to preserve what we have for the next generation,” Lagon said.
During the summit, it was noted the polluted rivers from Baguio City going to Tuba down to La Union is affecting the marine biodiversity in the West Philippine Sea.
Last June, Cenro-Baguio and DENR-Cordillera conducted information, education and communication in public high schools in Tuba. More than 40 garbage sacks were also collected by the officials and residents during the simultaneous clean-up drive in selected barangays.
“We want our rivers to be maintained and we should stop any activities that may pollute. We want the next generation to see the beauty of our waterways,” Balbuena said. (PR)