A netizen recently expressed “sadness” over the probable negative effects of the waste left behind by irresponsible people in a river in Sitio Boong, Brgy. Dumagueña in the town of Narra.

The concerned individual, a photography enthusiast who prefers to remain anonymous, shared her views and images of the river with Palawan News in the hopes of drawing attention to it and urging environmental officials of the municipality to take action.

The area in question is a “lovely river setting” in Brgy. Dumagueña, which is also accessible through Brgy. Jose Rizal, Aborlan, about 10 kilometers from the National Highway. She said that she found out about the location for the first time from posts on social media made by people who had been there during the peak of the pandemic.

It began to gain more and more popularity, she said, when COVID-19 restrictions were removed. Although it’s the dry season and there’s little rain to wash the dust off the plants, the banks of the river are a riot of colors, with vibrant flowers in full bloom and ferns and mosses coating the ground, giving the surroundings a sense of freshness and life.

On Friday, April 21, she made her first excursion to the river, and she observed that the pleasant sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the breeze will undoubtedly entice tourists to stop and enjoy its quiet beauty.

However, the area, which provides a natural habitat for various flora and fauna, making it a lively ecosystem teeming with life, is in peril due to waste left behind by visitors, notably empty bottles of alcoholic drinks, plastic wrappers, and empty food product cans.

“Nag-aalala po ako, naghihinayang, nalulungkot kong pupunuin lang ng basura ang napakagandang lugar na yan. Sana mabigyan agad ng pansin ng LGU na malinis habang hindi pa ganoon kadami ang mga basura (I am worried, saddened, and regretful that such a beautiful place will be filled with garbage. I hope the local government unit takes immediate action to keep it clean before the amount of trash accumulates),” she said.

“Sayang [ang lugar,] sana maipalam na sa LGU ng Narra nang malinis nila agad ang paligid ng ilog. Sayang ang napakagandang lugar na inaabuso lang ng mga taong walang disiplina. Napakaraming tambak ng bote ng alak. Ang ganda ng lugar, pero ang basura, nagkalat sa gilid (It’s a waste [of the place,] I hope it will be brought to the attention of the local government unit (LGU) of Narra so that they can immediately clean up the area around the river. It’s such a beautiful place that is being abused by people with no discipline. There are piles of empty alcohol bottles everywhere. The place is so beautiful, but the trash is scattered around),” she added.

Appeal for responsible tourism
Narra municipal tourism officer Sherwin Corpuz said the upkeep of the river in Sitio Boong is being managed by a newly-organized community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) association as an emerging destination. Although new, he explained that the association has shown dedication not only to developing the place but also to preserving and protecting it.

He acknowledged the concern of the netizen, and assured that the CBST association has taken note of the situation and are working together to address the matter.

Napakaraming tao sa ngayon ang pumupunta sa lugar na yan, subalit nakakalungkot na may iilan talaga na walang disiplina pagdating sa pagsinup ng kanilang basura. Hindi ko alam kung saan nagkulang ang kagawaran ng edukasyon at mga eskwelahan sa mga ganyang tao [ang iba dyan mga edukado pa] (There are many people visiting the area now, but it’s saddening to see that there are some who lack discipline when it comes to proper waste disposal. I don’t know where the gap in education and awareness lies, even among those who are educated),” he said.

“Salamat sa concern ng netizen po natin, but rest assured na yan ay noted and concern din ng community and LGU (Thank you for the concern of our fellow citizens. Rest assured that it has been noted and is also a concern of the community and LGU),” added Corpuz.

He said the community and the municipal government are appealing to all tourists to be responsible and mindful of their waste when visiting Narra.

“Nakikiusap po kami sa mga turistang namamasyal sa baya ng Narra na maging responsable, lalo na sa basura at maging magalang sa kalikasan at sa kapwa (We appeal to tourists visiting the town of Narra to be responsible, especially in proper waste disposal, and to show respect to nature and their fellow beings),” he said.

Yesterday, April 22, the CBST association conducted a river clean up from Agung-ungay to Manggahan in Sitio Boong.