COASTAL CLEANUP. Some Philippine Navy personnel collect the trash along a coastline in Brgy. Sta. Cruz Talikud, Island Garden City of Samal, on Friday (April 30, 2021). The activity is led by the Department of Tourism in Region 11, in partnership with other government agencies and scuba diving communities. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL, Davao del Norte - To kick off the month of the Ocean in May, the Department of Tourism in Region 11 (DOT-11) partnered with various government agencies and scuba diving communities for a synchronized cleanup in Brgy. Sta. Cruz Talikud here Friday.

DOT-11 Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said the cleanup is in line with the agency's advocacy to protect the local destinations, especially that Samal Island is one of the regions' top tourist spots.

At least 47 professional divers from the local government Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Navy, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its Regional Maritime Unit participated in the cleanup.

"This is a good day to stand up together and do an active part in the sea and coastal cleanup. Marine pollution has been lingering for a long time. We cannot ignore this problem because our trash finds its way in the ocean and will eventually be digested by the fish," Tan said.

Tan said DOT is committed to support the island-city's drive in protecting its coastal resources, as she noted that many of the residents depend on the ocean for their livelihood.

"I hope that with our collective effort, we can combat marine pollution. We encourage all stakeholders to invest in sustainable practices that can preserve the cleanliness of our ocean," she said.

On top of the scuba divers, volunteer coastal sweepers also helped to remove accumulated beach litters in the coastal areas.

The shoreline scoopers, on the other hand, scoured the shoreline to remove marine debris in the shallow area.

"This goes to show how much we value a clean ocean and we want to create a noise that we need to take an active part in preserving nature," Tan said. (PNA)