AT LEAST four tons of garbage and debris were retrieved from the Vitali River near Tigtubo Bridge during a river cleanup and tree planting activity initiated by the Atro Mining-Vitali, Incorporated (Amvi).

The Amvi is an iron ore mining company that has an Exclusive Mines Operating Agreement with Hard Rock Mineral Trading, Inc. (HRMTI) which grants exclusive rights to mine within the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area of 2,077.3084 hectares at Sitio Upper Tagpangi in the village of Vitali, 73 kilometers east of Zamboanga City.

The river cleanup, which was held Thursday, was joined by some 100 Amvi personnel with the participation of village officials as well as from the academe, civic sectors, and the regional environmental management agency.

It was the fifth river cleanup since the company signed the memorandum of agreement with the regional Environmental Management Bureau-Zamboanga Peninsula (EMB-9) and the Barangay Council of Vitali last August 15, 2012.

The fourth round of river cleanup initiated by the mining firm was last March 21.

“This time, we focused on the area near Tigtubo Bridge to clear it from garbage from households’ wastes and debris,” Amvi Community Relations Officer and Pollution Control Officer Francis Malones said.

“We are fulfilling our commitment to take care of Vitali River as part of our corporate social responsibility as a responsible mining company,” Malones added.

Amvi committed itself to assist in training community leaders in solid waste management; water quality management; and mobilization of residents to implement the agency's River Environmental Management Program.

EMB-9’s Toxic Chemical and Hazardous Waste Management head Arlene Muñoz has lauded the move of the company citing “It is a very commendable move where the company is committed to clean the Vitali River on a regular basis.”

Muñoz said they are encouraging all businesses in this city and in the region to do the same as part of their corporate social responsibility projects.

The Amvi also spearheaded the solid waste management campaign in the community aside from the regular river cleanup.

The firm has donated garbage bins to the village of Vitali for solid waste segregation, and conducted series of orientations to the community on how to manage their solid wastes.

Malones stressed the importance of cleaning the Vitali River and its immediate environs as “our way of preventing floods during rainy season.”

The village of Vitali is flood zone area according to the assessment of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Zamboanga Peninsula (MGB-9).

The company is doing its fair share in caring for the environment, Malones said.