Bataraza, Palawan, was abuzz with excitement and a strong sense of environmental responsibility on July 26 as WWF Philippines, together with Eco Kolek and other partners, led the advocacy for the "International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem." The event aimed to highlight the picturesque beauty and ecological significance of mangroves in the region.
Amidst the lush mangrove forests, a captivating mangrove tour was inaugurated, offering visitors a glimpse into the wonders of this unique ecosystem. Monkeys, snakes, and seabirds were spotted gracefully navigating the branches, showcasing the rich biodiversity that thrives in Bataraza's mangrove areas. The coral reefs off the coasts of Puring, Tagnato, and Buliluyan, three barangays in Bataraza, further added to the area's allure, providing a home to various species living together harmoniously.
Beyond their aesthetic charm, mangroves play a vital role in safeguarding coastal communities by acting as a natural buffer against storms, reducing the strength of waves, and protecting areas from strong winds. Additionally, these ecosystems serve as crucial habitats for endangered species, including crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, and diverse bird species. The interdependence of wildlife and mangroves underscores the urgency of preserving these habitats.
The mangrove tour served as a powerful educational awareness initiative, highlighting the need to protect and conserve these invaluable ecosystems. By raising awareness through tours and educational efforts, the message resonated loudly: the preservation of mangroves is pivotal to safeguarding biodiversity and preserving our planet's natural heritage.
Yayen Lipay, representing Eco Kolek in the event, expressed her newfound appreciation for mangroves, saying, "I realized how important it is for our sea creatures to have a safe habitat where they can have a safe space for their eggs and protect them from any harm. Mangroves also protect the residences near coastal areas from the big waves."
Recognizing the pressing issue of plastic pollution in oceans, a coastal cleanup was also an integral part of the event. Stakeholders from various sectors came together to remove plastics and other waste from the coastline of Buliluyan Port. The cleanup emphasized the importance of waste classification and segregation to ensure proper waste management practices. Through collective efforts, participants demonstrated their commitment to preserving the ocean and mitigating the impact of plastic pollution.
At the forefront of waste management, Eco Kolek played an essential role in engaging communities and promoting the principles of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and proper waste management practices. The project is steadfast in finding solutions to pressing waste management concerns and actively combatting plastic pollution to make a positive impact in the community.
WWF Philippines, together with Eco Kolek, Conservation International, EPSON, BusinessWorld, Coastguard, PNP, LGU, People's Organization, Palawan State University, DEPED, and PPUR, celebrates the success of this initiative. By uniting various stakeholders, the event succeeded in fostering a culture of preservation, protection, and sustainable management of mangroves and the ocean in Bataraza.
As the echoes of the "International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem" continue to resonate, it is a reminder of the collective responsibility we share to safeguard our environment. Together, WWF Philippines and partners like Eco Kolek, celebrate the beauty of nature and stand united in preserving the precious ecosystems that nurture life on our planet.