THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is calling on public support for the protection of coastal waters and rich marine resources of Central Luzon.
The call is in support of the Month of the Ocean (MOO) celebration in May 2021.
DENR executive director Paquito Moreno, Jr., in a statement, said conserving the healthy state of coastal areas and sustaining their abundant marine resources would be more achievable if local communities would partake in the mission to keep the water bodies in Central Luzon clean.
"Our collective effort can achieve more to protect and save our marine resources. Marine ecosystems are home to diverse and unique biodiversity, and serve as an important source of food and livelihood to coastal communities," he said.
DENR records showed that the region has a total coastal length of 630 kilometers, where coastal areas of Aurora and Zambales are teeming with marine life and resources.
Central Luzon is also the third-largest aquaculture producer in the Philippines, statistics showed.
According to Donaver Guevarra, regional information officer of the DENR, the region has five coastal provinces, including Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales, which are rich in marine resources.
"Five of the seven species of marine turtles are breeding and nesting in the coastal waters of Bataan, Zambales and Aurora, while species of giant clams, mesophotic coral species, large fishes such as the blue-spotted rabbitfish, and mangroves can also be found in the rich waters of Zambales," he said.
Guevarra added that coastal areas of Bulacan and Pampanga are also home to mangrove forests.
Moreno appealed to the public to protect marine life and important water bodies in the region by using fewer plastic products, recycling, disposing of trash properly, and participating in mangrove planting and cleanup activities organized by the DENR, local government units and other organizations.
"These are actions we can do that will make a big difference for our water bodies. They may seem little, but when done collectively, they will create a significant impact in protecting our rivers, seas and oceans," he ended.
As part of the MOO celebration this year, the DENR will hold small-scale mangrove planting and cleanup activities through its provincial and community offices.
Massive social media campaigns and online biodiversity quiz competitions will also be conducted to engage the public, especially the youth in the protection and conservation of marine resources.
The DENR has likewise scheduled a learning event on Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring System for its technical personnel in the regional and field offices.
MOO is annually celebrated in the month of May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1999 to raise public awareness on the protection of marine waters from degradation.
In 2021, the theme, "The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want," is inspired by the United Nation’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. It centers on recognizing the role of science, as well as the contributions of recognized scientists in the protection and conservation of the ocean and other water bodies.