KAUSWAGAN, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/3 June) – Even though children were not officially invited to join in the coastal cleanup drive in this municipality last Thursday, a handful of them just showed up and helped picked up garbage.
“I was so proud and impressed when I saw that the children care for the environment and count themselves as volunteers without anybody motivating them to help,” said Mayor Rommel C. Arnado.
About 300 local government employees, soldiers of the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion and adult members of the community joined in the cleanup drive intended to help prevent a dengue outbreak, as well as prevent respiratory ailment and other diseases.
Tons of garbage were hauled by military trucks to the garbage dump site for segregation.
“We were just eager to help the soldiers collect the garbage even without anybody telling us to help,” said seven-year-old Pet Jan Mejorada.
Pet Jan’s father, Pio, was also helping in the work, collecting garbage from various places. He said that Pet Jan has always been helpful in cleaning their home, knowing where to put the garbage.
Pet Jan said he and his friends would volunteer again should there be another cleanup drive.
On June 12, during Independence Day celebration, the municipal government will mobilize the community once more for a massive mangrove planting in a vacant swamp area to prevent further soil erosion and improve marine breeding grounds.
Kauswagan has an estimated 29 hectares of marine protected area, wherein part of it is a marine eco-tourism park intended for educational training and tourism development.
Arnado said that fishing activities is restricted near the fish sanctuaries.
Deputized fish wardens have been tasked to closely guard the marine sanctuaries from illegal fishing, Arnado said.
“We will not hesitate to implement the fishery laws for those who dare to destroy the marine environment,” he stressed.
Arnado said that in one of the sea patrols that he had joined, he noticed that the coral reefs have gradually grown, now attracting fish of various species, even dolphins.
Nilo Lapita , one of the fish wardens, said wild dolphins have showed up several times last week just a kilometer away from the Kauswagan wharf.
Arnado said that aside form snorkeling, dolphin watching could be among the future tourist attractions in Kauswagan.
“These marine species and resources must be protected and properly managed by the community for these are their sources of livelihood, the mayor said. (MindaNews)