Students prodded to defend rivers, seas

IF AIR is life, so is water.

In the midst of haze that hit parts of Cebu, the members of Cebu Academe Network (CAN) initiated their eighth Annual River Summit on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, encouraging college students from different universities to take care of the rivers and other bodies of water.

CAN is a network of higher education institutions in Cebu advocating for a healthy and sustainable environment with a focus on river systems. The summit was held at University of Cebu-Maritime Education and Training Center in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City.

Oceana, an ocean conservation organization, participated in the event. Its campaign manager, Danny Ocampo, shared Oceana’s objectives.

Ocampo told the students the alarming state of the seas in the Philippines. Based on his presentation, the Philippines is the third largest contributor of plastic waste to the ocean.

He said the students could start minimizing plastic waste by refusing to use it. If not, reduce using plastic products. Students, he added, can also reuse, recycle and repurpose plastics.

Ocampo further said that Oceana has tapped the Sea and Terrestrial Environment Protectors (Step) as its partner in Cebu. Step is a member organization of the United Nations-Sustainable Development Solutions Network; it empowers and inspires future leaders to do something for the environment.

The other speaker at the summit, Ma. Socorro Atega, environmental director of Cebu Unity for Sustainable Water Foundation, fired a warning about the deteriorating world climate’s condition.

“It is not climate change. It is climate emergency,” said Atega.

She also talked about the convergence of various groups for the care of Cebu’s ecosystem and the environmental challenges in the province. Atega described Cebu City’s landscapes as beautiful. However, the city’s rivers are mostly contaminated with waste, she said.

After the talks, the students from the 14 participating schools took part in the different competitions such as environment-themed race, vlogging and spoken-word performances. (KFD)


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