Groups unite in call to ban plastics, reclamation projects

Dragon Boat paddlers, bikers and green groups initiated a coastal clean-up drive in Manila Bay this morning, a week before the International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2018. Volunteers from the Dragon Boat Amateur Paddlers Philippines, Earth Island Institute, Nilad, and Bikers Unite expressed their solidarity with the said global celebration on September 15, with the theme “Fighting for Trash-Free Seas.”

Environmentalists conduct a clean-up operation in Manila Bay. Photos by Katrina Yamzon.

According to Earth Island Institute Philippine Campaign Officer Mark Louie Aquino, their initiative to kick-off the cleaning of Manila Bay is their way to call for the total ban of plastics, as well as reclamation projects, which they believed posed grave threats to all bodies of water that will lead to the destruction of our marine ecosystem.

Aquino said that both plastic pollution and reclamation will mean further damage to the almost 267 species worldwide, including marine mammal species like dolphins and whales which is 43% of the total marine wildlife population.

“Both plastic garbage and reclamation are indicators of haphazard urbanization and the continuing dominance of a dirty and deadly model of development,” Aquino said.

“Garbage, especially plastic, is destroying the livelihood of thousands of fisherfolks living in the coastal communities of Mega Manila. Meanwhile, reclamation, which is an irreversible project, poses a greater threat to the lives of these residents,” he added.

During their clean-up drive at the Philippine Dragon Boat dock site and the Manila Bay coastline along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, volunteers call to “Save Manila Bay,” following the aftermath of previous storm surges due to inclement weather conditions over the past weeks.

According to Earth Island Institute and Nilad, garbage that pollutes our seas is “a compelling issue that Filipinos should unite against” and that the issue of pollution of our seas is “very much alarming.”

They added that the Philippines is known to be home to numerous marine wildlife species and is at the epicenter of marine biodiversity on the planet.

They also called on the public to do their share in caring for the world’s oceans and marine life by opposing all forms of reclamation and join their crusade for plastic-free lifestyles by doing simple things such as using eco-bags for shopping, having reusable lunch boxes for meals or joining coastal clean-ups up to other pro-active actions like joining discussions, lobbying for policies and the like.

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