A total of 140 sacks of garbage were collected during a joint clean up operations led by the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Palawan on Friday.

DENR-MIMAROPA Director Henry Adornado said the heaps of garbage, believed to have originated from other countries based on the markings on the plastic bottles, were reportedly seen drifting at the Secret Lagoon in Miniloc Island, and were washed up to the shores of El Nido by the strong current brought about by the monsoon rains that prevailed over the province recently.

A waste classification report issued by the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) indicated that majority of the garbage or 70% consisted of plastic bottles while 30% were a mix of Styrofoam, rubber scraps, plastic wrappers, nylon and other trash.

Despite the rough seas, Adornado mobilized additional teams to scour the beaches of Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon in Miniloc island, Natnat Beach in Cadlao Island, including the farther islands of Matinloc and Tapiutan.

“Since it is already rainy season, let us expect the accumulation of marine debris in the shorelines of Palawan and its islands. This should remind us that whatever we dumped in the oceans, will come back to us,” he said.

He then called on the public to diligently practice the 3Rs of ecological waste management - reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Adornado attributed the success of the clean-up operations to the cooperation extended by representatives of other government offices and the private sector, notably the Philippine Coast Guard, the local government unit of El Nido, the El Nido Chamber of Commerce, El Nido Resorts, El Nido Travel and Tours Association and other private organizations.

Meanwhile, a juvenile bearcat found caught in a trap during the clean-up operations was set free into the wild. Locally known as Binturong, the local bearcat is listed as a ‘vulnerable species’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its population decline resulting from habitat destruction, local use and wildlife trade. ###