Taiheiyo leads in cleanup drive

LOCAL folks recently gathered 2.8 metric tons of mostly plastic waste along the shorelines of South Poblacion and Panadtaran, and along Luknay Creek in San Fernando, Cebu.

Compared to the 2018 activity, the 200 volunteers collected a ton less, or about 335 bags of trash, in the 11th edition of the Save Our Seas (SOS) drive, an annual event organized by Taiheiyo Cement Philippines Inc. (TCPI).

“It’s a good indication that our neighbors now are becoming more conscious about keeping and properly disposing of garbage. Those who still indiscriminately throw their waste are getting few,” said engineer Romeo M. Gebilaguin, TCPI environment and safety manager.

He is pleased that the annual SOS drive and close coordination of the company’s community relations team with the local folks have produced something good.

“Apparently, some of the garbage we gathered was ‘fugitive’ waste that came from elsewhere and was brought to our seafront by the tides,” Gebilaguin said.

Gebilaguin welcomed the participants that included representatives of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 and Argao’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office.

The volunteers also included employees of the San Fernando Municipal Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, TCPI and its supplier of earth materials for cement production—Solid Earth Development Corp. (SEDC).

TCPI provided the participants with souvenir shirts and cleaning paraphernalia as they arrived at the company’s multi-purpose recreation center.

Great impact

During a short program, TCPI plant manager Chiyuki Sugawara, also senior vice president for operations, pointed out that the main cause of marine pollution is the indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste.

He cited a report published in March 2019 about a 4.6-meter juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale that beached itself off Mabini town in Compostela Valley, southern Mindanao. The whale’s belly had at least 16 empty rice sacks and assorted plastics that weighed 40 kilograms.

“If this situation goes on, this beautiful sea will continue to be polluted, and eventually it will have a great impact on our lives,” Sugawara said.

He further said: “Who is the one who receives the great impact? It is not us. It will be the offspring of our children, our grandchildren who will experience what will be a great dreaded impact.”

Loreto A. Rivac of EMB 7 reminded the participants to “always segregate plastics to help reduce and eliminate plastics accumulating in our water bodies.”

“Individual commitment and cooperation are very important,” he said. “We are very thankful to TCPI to be part of this noble activity.”

The same SOS activity in May last year generated 3.8 metric tons of garbage that increased from 2.6 metric tons in 2016.

Some 150 residents live along the 593-meter lowland portion of Luknay where runoff waters flow from barangays Tonggo and Tinubdan. Rainwaters from the SEDC quarry sites behind the plant in Tonggo also run through Luknay. (S)


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