YESTERDAY, 125 scuba divers, free divers and mermaids (in costume) collected a total of 103.5 kilograms of garbage and 43 crown of thorns, under the waters of Mactan during the fourth Dive Against Debris (DAD) at the Crimson Resort and Spa.

Diver Jai Genilza said that harvesting the crown of thorns is important because it kills corals.

“They are uncontrollable and they are considered pests,” said Genilza.

Meanwhile, an organizer of DAD noted fewer garbage collected by divers this year.

Lapu-Lapu acting Vice Mayor Harry Don Radaza said they credit the improvement to the constant education of tourists and dive operators to minimize garbage underwater.

“We have a lot of tourists, locals and foreign, nga pataka lang og labay ug panghilabot sa corals. Based on that knowledge, we then started slowly educating our tourists, our boatmen and dive operators on why we need to preserve our oceans and sanctuaries. We have seen changes but for that to happen, local government and private sectors had to work hard together,” said Radaza.

Head of the Lapu-Lapu City Council’s Committee on Environment Rico Amores said they are doing this to help preserve the natural resource that’s giving the city revenues through diving.

“This is a yearly event. We took into consideration that the major business of our city is tourism and a lot of percentage of that come here to dive. That is our gem,” said Amores.

He said they might do this cleanup quarterly and he is now looking into getting rid of pajis and dynamite fishing, which have been the main causes of the destruction of the corals in Mactan.

Dive operator Simplicio “Boyla” Gilig of Boyla Dive Center said that they are also doing their share in helping preserve the oceans and sanctuaries.

“Even the simplest things like touching the corals, we don’t allow that. Mapil-pilan gyod nako ang kamot sa akong masakpan,” Gilig said.

He said he and a group of other divers also organize underwater cleanup monthly. “We can’t cover the whole of Mactan but we make sure that we do our share,” he added.