THE Rotary clubs of Cebu are picking up their Manila counterparts’ “Save Manila Bay” initiative with “Protect Cebu.”
The local version will involve giving toilet facilities to poor households along riverbanks, compelling establishments to have their own wastewater installations, and public awareness campaigns on waste segregation.
“Cebu is thriving on tourism, and if all of a sudden the human waste is there on our beaches, what will happen? River cleanups are already being done. What we have to address is the source of all these wastes,” said honorary consul of Latvia and founder of the Network of Independent Tour Agencies Robert Joseph.
He said they hope to see over a thousand Rotary clubs picking up the cudgels in tidying up the environment.
“Protect Cebu” will involve government agencies, naturally the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The civic clubs will brainstorm strategies with the agencies.
The DENR will help the clubs in identifying the project’s priority areas. Joseph said they will ask the DENR’s advice on the cost of a sewage treatment plant. On the other hand, he said the clubs earmarked P5 million for each beneficiary barangay.
The funds may be sourced from both the government and non-government benefactors.
The Rotary mentions involving the Aboitiz Foundation and tapping the Chinese government for support.
The initiative is laudable at best, and we congratulate the Rotary clubs for it. We do hope, however, that we imbibe the better notion that tidying up the environment is done because it is simply the right thing to do, and not because there is the tourism industry to keep.