MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is encouraging the public to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day on Saturday from their own homes.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the agency said that the ICC Day is the largest volunteer effort in the world that is dedicated to the cleanup of oceans and waterways.

This year’s celebration will be done differently amid the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Despite the situation, the DENR National Capital Region said everyone may still participate in the activity by cleaning their own homes and surroundings.

“This year thus, DENR National Capital Region will not be organizing coastal cleanups for volunteers. Instead, we call on Metro Manilans to do the cleanup in their own homes,” The DENR said.

It says that people may participate in the cleanup by downloading and using “Clean Swell”.

Clean Swell is a mobile application developed by Ocean Conservancy that will help volunteers to easily record and directly upload each item of trash they collect during cleanups to the “Trash Information and Data for Education and Solution” (TIDES) database of the Ocean Conservancy.

DENR states in its post that said the database will be used by scientists, different conservation groups, government, and industry leaders to be able to study ocean trash and take action to ensure that this trash does not end up in beaches.

“No need to head out to coastal areas or esteros to participate in the ICC! We only need to clean our house and ensure that our trash does not end up in Manila Bay through the practice of waste reduction and segregation-at-source,” the post said.

This year’s celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup Day becomes more significant at this age as the country is in the middle of rehabilitation and make-over of the Manila Bay that includes the beach nourishment project.

The DENR as well as the city government of Manila headed by Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso regularly do clean-ups not only in the Manila Bay coastal area but in creeks and other tributaries leading to the bay.

The DENR would also conduct a series of webinars on proper disposal of garbage that includes single-use plastics, face masks, personal protective equipment, and other medical health items normally used nowadays which may be dangerous if just thrown together with other household garbage.

Since group activities are prohibited to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the DENR encourages everyone to clean their own house and surroundings.

“Indeed, safe oceans do start at home. So if we want a clean Manila Bay, we must practice cleanliness in our house and immediate community,” the DENR said.

Despite the absence of a big celebration with the participation of the public like that of last year, a symbolic celebration will be held on Saturday at the Manila Bay.

The Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) will close and re-route some streets in the city of Manila to give way to the event and ensure that minimum health standards will still be imposed.

Starting from 5 a.m., motorists that will be plying Roxas Boulevard are advised to follow alternate routes to avoid delay.

The MTPB said that invited participants to the event may park at the Roxas Boulevard Southbound near the Manila Bay Activity Area and at the Roxas Boulevard Service Road parking area. (PNA)

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