In celebration of this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) led a cleanup drive in Barangay Tanza Uno, Navotas City, while calling on the public to participate in initiatives aimed at ocean conservation and protection.
About 500 individuals from BFAR-Central Office, BFAR-National Capital Region (NCR), New Era High School, Asian Social Institute, and Lingkod Tao-Kalikasan participated in the activity conducted on Saturday morning at the Marine Tree Park.
The BFAR-led activity, held concurrently with other cleanup activities worldwide as part of the celebration, was supported by the local government of Navotas City, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-NCR, and the Metro Manila Development Authority-Navotas.
BFAR National Director Atty. Demosthenes R. Escoto said the theme for this year’s celebration, “Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries,” reflects the Bureau’s call for public cooperation in maintaining waste-free bodies of water to ensure a thriving fisheries industry.
“Hinihikayat po namin ang lahat na makiisa sa mga proyekto ng ating pamahalaan na pangalagaan ang ating yamang-tubig. Kapag meron po kayong munting basura, sana’y ibulsa muna,” Director Escoto said during the program.
“All bodies of water are connected, kaya sana po ay magbalikatan tayo para sa malinis at masaganang karagatan. I am optimistic that by working together, we can ensure that our oceans and coastal regions continue to be a source of life, inspiration, and prosperity for all,” he added.
He also emphasized that the protection of natural resources is a “matter of utmost urgency and global significance,” underscoring the importance of oceans, seas, rivers, and coastal areas for the livelihoods of Filipino fisherfolk.
“Nakasalalay po ang hanapbuhay ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan sa ating karagatan. Kaya nararapat lang pong sabihin na kapag malinis ang karagatan, sagana ang pangisdaan, at matatag ang kabuhayan,” he said.
Director Escoto further highlighted the Bureau’s commitment to ocean conservation and protection, with BFAR’s partner institutions expressing their support for the agency’s programs, particularly those related to coastal resource management.
These include the implementation of the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan: The National Search for Outstanding Coastal Communities,” which incentivizes local government units demonstrating exemplary sustainable fisheries development efforts.
BFAR has also launched the “Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa” or BASIL program, wherein the Bureau rehabilitates minor lakes and reservoirs located in upland and landlocked areas to restore their ecological health and bolster the populations of native and endemic fish species.