A river and mangrove cleanup was led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on March 21, 2023 at the Iloilo River Esplanade 4 in time for the double celebration of the International Day of Forests (March 21) and World Water Day (March 22).

Cleanup volunteers involved youths from different colleges in the city and province of Iloilo and learned how to identify different wastes during the activity. Almost a hundred volunteers take part in the river and mangrove cleanup.

A staff from the Conservation and Development Division (CDD) of DENR 6 was assigned as group leader to oversee the waste collection in every segment of Esplanade 4. A total of six segments, stretching more or less to 800 meters, are covered during the cleanup. Volunteers were able to collect 36 ½ sacks of wastes with an estimated weight of 194.5 kilograms. The City ENRO team assisted the DENR 6 with the waste disposal after the activity.

The International Day of Forests 2023 adopted the theme: “Healthy Forests for Healthy People” which underscores the basic human need, and our dependence on healthy forests to keep us all healthy as well. Meanwhile, the World Water Day theme is “Accelerating Change through Partnerships and Cooperation” which calls for everyone to take action to accelerate change in order to provide solutions to the ongoing challenge on global water and sanitation crisis.

No other place within the city could be more attuned for the said celebrations than the river esplanade. Afterall, it is a success story in itself after a strong collaboration from all stakeholders was forged and change was carried out.

“The government was able to transform the Iloilo River from a polluted one to an enhanced, clean and attractive place. Each of us play a role, especially the youths, in cleaning up our environment, in protecting our mangrove forests,” said Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Raul L. Lorilla.

In capping off the celebrations, the team from the Conservation and Development Division (CDD) of DENR 6 encouraged all participants to leave their handprints to create a beautiful canvass of a tree using acrylic paint. The piece of art depicts the cooperation of everyone in the society, especially the youths, to take action and be part of the better change that we all need.

“Like the piece of art we have made, our doings things hand-in-hand or together, and no matter how small, will create a bigger impact. We can always contribute to a better, climate change resilient society, to sustainable development with our small actions, wherever we are,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.