Surpassing its target of 1,000 participants in this year’s Coastal Cleanup drive, a total of 1,066 took part in cleaning the 1.5-kilometer stretch of Manila Bay fronting SM by the Bay at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Gathering as early as 4 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, participants—composed mostly of students, SM employees and young professionals—cleaned the area of garbage that lined up the bay.
The Coastal Cleanup started at 5 a.m. and ended at around 9 a.m. The participants managed to collect a total of 8,467 pieces of garbage, enough to fill three dump trucks by the end of the activity.
The SM by the Bay Coastal Cleanup is an annual environmental awareness event in support of the International Coastal Cleanup Day. It was held in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard, Pasay City Environment Office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings.
In a study conducted by Ocean Conservancy, the Philippines ranked third among the countries who are contributing highly to plastic pollution in the ocean.
“If water pollution continues to rise, a lot of people and sea creatures risk being endangered. But there is still time to change and leave something good for future generations,” said Elena Horn, vice president of SM Prime Corporate Affairs.
This year, participants were paired and assigned to different stations with one serving as the collector and the other as tabulator. Data collected were forwarded to Ocean Conservancy for final tabulation.
The event also featured fun activities, including the locking of padlocks at “Love Locks by the Bay” as a pledge to preserve the environment. Miss Philippines Earth 2017 Winners also graced the event to support the campaign.
College student Jocelyn de Jesus, 19, from Pasay City said she did not mind the early morning activity on a weekend since she knew it was for a good cause. “We all have to do our share for the environment because it’s for our children’s future,” she explained.
SM by the Bay has been joining the Coastal Cleanup as a show of support to preserve the country’s coasts and waterways. The Coastal Cleanup, held every third Saturday of September, was created by Ocean Conservancy to unite everyone in giving back to Mother Earth.
The event was also supported by SM Hypermarket, Stage Pro, Waffles and Soda Corp, Jollibee and Maynilad. Hundreds of SM employee-volunteers also attended the event, and took part in the Clean-Up as part of SM’s employee volunteerism program that supports social responsibility initiatives.
Horn said organizers were happy with the turnout this year because it showed that the cleanup drive is gaining recognition and support of the people.
“We a know that the work is not just for one day. We should be cleaning-up every day. Part of the clean-up drive must be educating the coastal areas on proper waste disposal,” she said.
“We hope to be able to advocate this with the LGUs (local government units). We are happy that our activities help raise the consciousness of people. SM Prime is committed to doing this as a responsible member of the community,” Horn said.
To know more about SM by the Bay, please visit www.facebook.com/smbythebay.