(16 October 2023, Singapore) As a continuing effort to observe the Maritime Archipelagic Nation and Awareness Month or MANAMo, pursuant to Proclamation No. 316, s. 2017, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, in partnership with Waterways Watch Society (WWS), a nonprofit organization that promotes awareness, protection and appreciation of the water reservoirs in Singapore, conducted a coastal cleanup along the Kallang Riverside premises on 14 October 2023.
The cleanup activity, which also served as the Embassy’s team building activity for the year, was conceptualized and conducted in view of the MANAMo theme for 2023, “Kapuluan, Kabuluhan, Kaunlaran” or Archipelago, Significance, and Development,” as well as the sub-theme of the Department of Foreign Affairs, “Setting SailsToward Sustainability:Ocean Science for Archipelagic Philippines.
The event also underscored the Philippine Government’s commitment to environmental conservation and community engagement. Singapore, with its diverse coastal ecosystems, is an ideal location for the Embassy to engage in such an essential environmental undertaking.
In his remarks, Deputy Head of Mission and Consul General Emmanuel R. Fernandez expressed appreciation to the Embassy staff for taking part in the cleanup activity, which “not only demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship but also shows our respect for the local community and culture”. He reminded the participants that every piece of trash that we collect is a step towards a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations. He added that by participating in the afternoon cleanup activity, “we not only make a difference here in our host country, Singapore, but also foster teamwork and camaraderie among Embassy staff – a reminder that we are not just colleagues but a family, and together, we can overcome any challenge.”
Prior to the cleanup activity, a briefing for the participants was made by officials of the WWS, led by Mr. Eugene Heng, Founder and CEO of WWS, himself an advocate of environmental and waterway protection, and a recipient of many accolades, including the President’s Award for the Environment in 2014.
During the cleanup, the participants were equipped with necessary tools and safety gear, which ensured a safe and productive event. The objective of the activity was to collect and properly dispose of litter and debris from the coastal areas, contributing to the cleanliness and vitality of the local environment, while instilling social responsibility among them.
The fifty-two (52) personnel of the Embassy and its attached agencies were divided into three teams as follows:
- Kayak Waterway Cleanup Program, where participants were able to explore the litter hotspots of the waterways on their kayaks and also contribute efforts through litter picking to protect drinking water source;
- Pedal Boat Waterway Cleanup, which offered the opportunity to explore and care for the environment in the safety and comfort of a pedal boat; and
- Boat Waterway Cleanup, where a powerboat was used to bring participants on a tour of the largest water catchment in Singapore, the Marina Reservoir, as they pick up water litter along the boat ride.
A total of 57.8 kilograms of litter, consisting of single-use plastics, bottles, cans, and other waste materials were collected by the participants during the activity, averaging 1.11 kgs per participant. This, according to WWS, is more than the average amount collected by any volunteer/participant.
For more information on the WWS, please visit: https://www.wws.org.sg/