Honda joins drive for coastal conservation in Batangas
Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) recently joined protection and conservation of the coastal water in San Luis, Batangas. Now on its second year, Honda, in cooperation with Project Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education (AWARE) Foundation in Australia and Philippine National Police Scuba Diver's Association (PNPSDA), actively participated in protecting fragile coral reefs by deploying mooring buoys and collecting underwater garbage.
A total of ten (10) buoys were mounted along popular dive sites in San Luis, Lemery and Anilao, Batangas. With the installation of mooring buoys, boatmen can now secure their boats by simply tying up with these buoys instead of dropping heavy anchors. Heavy anchors scrape and destroy corals underneath. Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. These reefs shelter diverse marine species for a sustainable coastal ecosystem. Corals serve as food, shelter and spawning habitat for varied aquatic species. Considering its significant role in marine life, damaged coral reefs pose severe repercussion because it takes a long period of time for a coral to grow under normal condition. Studies show that it takes one year to grow a meager centimeter of massive corals.
Aside from deployment of buoys, shoreline and underwater garbage were also collected to protect coral reefs. More than 85 kilos of garbage were gathered around the vicinity in two 35-minute dives. Plastic bags, plastic water bottles, cigarette butts and candy wrappers were just samples of junk gathered together. Plastic water bottles for instance are buoyant, durable and non-biodegradable. These containers can travel thousands of miles and are indestructible unless removed and destroyed by man. Most of the debris on the beach comes from shoreline and recreational activities. Marine animals get caught up in the trash hampering mobility, causing lethal cuts, suffocation and eventual drowning.
"Beyond making environment-friendly products and manufacturing process, Honda takes proactive stance in making the environment a healthy place for us all. The Philippine coral reef area, the second largest in Southeast Asia, holds some of the world's most diverse ecosystems. These coral resources pose important contributions to the country's economy. According to the World Bank 2005 Philippine Environment Monitor, one square kilometer of healthy coral reef generates an estimated Php 2.5M from fishing and tourism. Unfortunately, reports show that over 70% of our reefs are damaged and that only 4-5% are in excellent condition. Indeed, we have to act now and prevent further irreparable damage. " said Mr. Arnel Doria, HCPI's VP for Marketing.
PNP Maritime Command Director Angelo Sunglao, an avid environmental advocate and scuba diver himself, graced the ceremonies and invoked 63 volunteer divers in this worthy endeavor. Mr. Brett Garcia, VP of PNPSDA also appealed to other licensed scuba divers to take an active role in preserving marine life. "Scuba divers must always be at the forefront of looking after the welfare of coral reefs. We must act as responsible stewards of these fragile species. In our own little way, we not only help support the livelihood of local communities but help save aquatic life for the future generations to appreciate" said Mr. Garcia.