Youth group scales up coastal clean-up drive

CLEANING UP. Members of the environmental youth group ‘Scubasurero’ taking stock of the waste materials they have collected underwater.

A group of young environmentalists engaged in the coastal clean-up initiative ‘Scubasurero’ said recently they are initiating a new approach to marine conservation by targeting inland areas that are sources of wastes and contribute to marine pollution.

Encouraged by their success in previous coastal clean-up campaigns, the group said they are undertaking a new clean-up activity in the waterfalls of Magarwak and Bacungan, in partnership with Wild Expedition, a group of hikers and environmental advocates.

Shellemai Roa, one of the movers of Scubasurero-Palawan, described their new campaign as a “ridge to reef” approach, noting that the initiative focuses on addressing waste materials that are coming from inland areas.

The group recently conducted a clean-up activity using scuba gears to collect waste deposited in deeper parts of the coastal areas. They said their success in their project dubbed “Protecting our Seas thru Environmental Diving” made them realize the need to also address the inland areas.

In two separate diving activities that were supported by a grant from the Palawan Pawnshop, the group said they collected over 250 kilograms of underwater wastes, including nylon, tin cans, PET bottles, plastic, electronic parts and even batteries.

“We are using our skills to help protect our environment,” Roa said. During their dive, she said that it surprised them to haul from the seabed not only plastics but also batteries which are classified as toxic wastes and need to be handled and disposed properly.

The group said they have also conducted an information and education campaign in Barangay Mangingisda where they were able to tap students and out-of-school youth in participating in their activities.

“These trash under the sea are damaging our environment, and we together with the volunteers do our part in protecting our Mother Earth,” Roa said.

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