GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 02 June) — Volunteers gathered at least 2,548 kilograms or 2.5 tons of garbage at the beaches of Gumasa in Glan town, Sarangani, venue of the three-day Sarangani Bay (SarBay) festival, the country’s biggest annual beach party, officials said Sunday.
Eliodoro Alcaya, Jr., SarBay festival environment officer, said that on Saturday, Glan town’s 12-cubic meter garbage truck hauler was filled to the brim with wastes gathered since Thursday, May 30.
He placed the volume of garbage hauled on Saturday, June 1, at 2,196 kg or about 2.2 tons.
“On Sunday morning, in just an hour of coastal cleanup, our volunteers gathered about 352 kilograms of garbage,” Alcaya said in a phone interview.
As of 2 p.m. Sunday, the total collected garbage had reached at least 2.5 tons, MindaNews calculated from the data he provided.
Alcaya slammed the irresponsible merrymakers who left behind their thrash at the shore.
“Neon Summer” was the theme of the 12th edition of the SarBay festival from May 30 to June 1 in Gumasa, touted to be the “Boracay of Mindanao” due to its fine white sandy beaches.
While the festival ended on June 1, many stayed overnight to party until dawn and were expected to leave Sunday afternoon.
Alcaya said the beach cleanup would continue the whole Sunday.
Serafin Ramos Jr., Sarangani information officer, said majority of the merrymakers disposed of their garbage properly.
He cited the environmental awareness campaign conducted by the provincial government in line with the celebration of SarBay festival.
To also instill responsible garbage disposal, the provincial government’s Sulong Kabataan and Sulong Tribo programs collaborated with Smart Communications, Inc. for a scheme that involved giving a phone load for plastics thrown at designated garbage stations.
Alcaya said that of the volume of garbage collected, 40 percent are reusable, 30 percent are residual and 30 percent biodegradable.
Organizers were expecting 150,000 tourists to join the festival.
As of posting, it was not yet known if the target was hit. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)