By Leilanie Adriano

CLEANUP DRIVE. Volunteers help clean the streets and waterways in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on Tuesday (April 23, 2024). The event is part of Ilocos Norte’s intensified environment awareness campaign to reduce plastic use. (PNA photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – A total of 100.75 kilos of plastic and residual wastes were collected by 265 eco-warriors who joined the cleanup drive in this city on Tuesday as part of the continuing Earth Day celebration.

The volunteers were composed of students and members of socio-civic organizations who cleaned major thoroughfares near the city’s university belt and the Ferdinand E. Marcos Sports Stadium.

“The clean-up drive forms part of our intensified environment awareness campaign particularly in beating plastic pollution,” Joegie Jimenez, environment personnel of the Ilocos Norte government, told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

He said they were supposed to conduct the cleanup drive a day ago but they opted to reschedule it to give way to the grand parade of over 10,000 delegates to the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA).

As an environment advocate, Jimenez said “it is not yet too late to save mother earth,” enjoining the public to become responsible stewards of nature.

As host to the weeklong R1AA, Ilocos Norte Schools Division Superintendent Donato Balderas Jr. reminded participants from the 14 participating Schools Division Offices in the region to observe cleanliness and discipline at all times.

“Our theme for this year’s palaro is INvironmental (Environmental). Our athletes will be made aware of saving the earth through practices that will conserve energy and fight the use of plastics and the like. We are making sure that this will be observed in the billeting areas and in the places of games as well as in the whole conduct of the R1AA,” he said.

Helen Domingo, sports development officer of Ilocos Norte, assured the public that during the conduct of big events, waste disposal management is handled properly by her team in close coordination with the city government of Laoag and all local government units where the athletes were billeted. (PNA)