20 Apr 2013 15:00
Two years ago, the Coastal Lagoon, officially called the Las Piñas Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), but popularly known as Freedom Island, was covered with garbage and rubbish. Through the efforts of the Wild Birds Club of the Philippines, the Save Freedom Island Movement and various environmental NGO’s have helped clean the coastal bay and as a result, the lagoon is now almost clean.
The clean-up event at Freedom Island on April 20, 2013, is in celebration of Earth Day, which is observed in more than 192 countries every year to promote awareness and appreciation of our environment and to demonstrate support for its protection and restoration.
Freedom Island is the last remaining mangrove frontier in Metro Manila that serves as a sanctuary for avian, terrestrial and marine species. It is home to more than 80 species of migratory and endemic birds, including the already vulnerable Chinese Egret and the Philippine Duck. The mangrove ecosystem also serves as a feeding, nesting and nursery grounds for commercially important fish, prawns, mollusks, crabs and shellfish. By this virtue, it has been declared a critical habitat by Proclamation 1412 in 2007 and has also recently been included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
However, threats against the bird sanctuary’s continue to exist, such as the controversial reclamation project, and continuous dumping of waste and pollution. Thus, more action from the people is needed to protect and restore it.
The coastal clean-up event is not only a campaign to inspire people to clean up their surroundings, but also a show of concern about further environmental depletion. It serves as a call to action to all citizens to take part in saving the environment, as well as a call to the government take action and to stop all disastrous reclamation projects.