Litter were everywhere around the small coast of San Juan, La Union after tourists turned the beach-going scene into a big party last weekend.
The annual Labor Union Festival from April 27 to April 29 drew more crowds this year as the popular LaBoracay Summer Festival had been canceled.
Despite prior warnings of protecting the beach, people still left layers of plastic products, beer bottles, cigarette butts and other forms of trash to clean.
The Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel, a popular place to stay in San Juan, posted a message on its Facebook page about the aftermath of the summer party festival.
The post received various feedback, one of which seemed suggested a complete stop to partying in the surfing spot altogether.
Jerome Orate , a local of La Union, pointed out in a lengthy reply that concerned citizens should not be selective in blaming only tourists for the polluted shores.
“We did this. We hyped the hypes. Let’s not put blame on anyone because root cause analysis would point fingers back to us. Instead of blabbering how some certain event or tourist, or whatever causes this or that, why not humbly do what you have to do?” Orate said.
The sea turtles of La Union
Not known to many, the stretch of sand in San Juan is the nesting ground of the endangered sea turtles or pawikans, which are losing their habitats mainly due to rapid coastal development.
The Coastal Underwater Resource Management Actions (CURMA), an organization that aims to protect these reptiles, reminded tourists on social media to be responsible enough when they go to the beach.
“Wherever we go to unwind and have fun may also be a home or habitat of others. So let us be responsible in our actions and not lose sight of our role as stewards,” CURMA said in a post.
Another Facebook user, Dante Garzon, commented on how organizers of the festival used a turtle as their logo when the loud partying shoos away the endangered reptiles.
“Bright lights and blaring music went on until past midnight. This morning I walked the beach and took these photos after their “cleanup” had already concluded. I hope a “significant” portion of the proceeds is going to saving turtles somewhere,” Garzon said in the post.
CURMA is a public-private partner of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the municipality of San Juan, and the Science of Identity Foundation, and the Department of Tourism.
Aside from sea turtles, the northern province also protects a mangrove ecosystem already threatened by human intervention.
Among the various posts of what transpired during the weekend event, there are several that called out the trash left behind by partygoers.
Saw what happened to La Union after that #LaborUnion event. What a shame! First Boracay, now they’re trying to ruin the beauty of La Union. Ugh.
— Jandro Madrid (@jandrogenous) May 1, 2018
Good Morning. Woke up to see that the #LaBorUnion activities left trash on the sands and beaches of La Union. Maging responsable kayo kahit konti naman. Pick up where you left off. This is the environment we’re talking anout here.
— Vince (@vincecardenas) May 1, 2018