Each year the World Water Day (WWD) is being celebrated on the 22nd day of March to celebrate the life-sustaining gift of clean water and raise awareness of water-related issues. The number of reasons for a day dedicated to water is long, from issues of scarcity of potable water during disasters to improving sanitation and making sure sufficient quality and supply of water is available for domestic use. In the Philippines, the celebration last for at least one week by virtue of Executive Order (E.O.) 258 issued in 1996, adopting the Philippine Water Week.

2016 World Water Day (WWD), with the theme “Water and Jobs” highlights the specific aspect of water. It provides an important opportunity to emphasize water’s vital role in achieving sustainable development in relation to jobs.

PENR Officer Conrado A. Espejo, Jr. enjoined all employees of the PENR Office to participate in the clean-up activity held on March 22, 2016 along the bank of Mamburao River and the adjacent mangrove areas. Three groups were mobilized to collect or recover, in their areas of concern, waste materials that lodged into the water canals or left ou and thrown away by unconcerned individuals in the river basin.

The graduating class of Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC)-Mamburao campus were tapped to participate in the said event. The municipal government’s garbage trucks and some service personnel were requested to take charge in the collection and transportation of the sacks of retrieved garbage. Assorted solid waste materials, mostly are made of plastics and non-biodegradable materials, were put into sacks for proper disposal.

As primary stakeholders, we have to join hands with other stakeholders in order to protect our environment and natural resources from ecological degradation. Always remember the following lines from the DENR Hymn (Inang Kalikasa, Ating Tahanan) that embodies our environmental mandate and mission: “Himig ng lahi, tinig ng lipi, sa salinglahi nagsasabing… gubat, halaman, dagat nating yaman, ating ingatan, ipagsangalang. Halina bayan, magkapit-bisig. Makipagtalastasan sa buong daigdig. Inang kalikasan lagi mong ingatan. Inang kalikasan, ating tahanan.