Social media users lauded actor Pepe Herrera’s initiative to fully commit himself in cleaning up beach shorelines by picking up litter and encouraging locals and tourists to do the same.
In a Facebook post, Herrera shared that he now spends his time as a “garbage collector” where he picks up every trash he sees in the beaches he visits.
He admitted that it was not an easy feat since he would encounter people who would give him disdainful looks and sarcastic remarks every time he would pick up litter.
Despite the negative reactions, however, Herrera shared that he would continue with his endeavor and declared that it would be his “lifelong commitment.”
An excerpt of his caption reads:
“This is a lifelong commitment and I’m just getting started. You see, I don’t aim to collect all the trash by myself. Whenever I collect garbage, my aim is to encourage others (tourists and locals) to do the same.”
“In a non-forceful manner. Kahit isa lang ang gumaya masaya na ako. Kasi naniniwala ako na yung gagaya ay makikita din ng isang gagaya. Hanggang sa dumami nang dumami ang gaya-gaya.”
The actor also appealed for everyone to inform him of any beach clean-up drive as he is “willing to join or collaborate.”
Herrera good-humoredly noted that the activity is a “good core and leg workout.”
His post was met with supportive comments from social media users who admired his genuine initiative.
Trash problem in beaches
Earlier in 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a full closure of Boracay, a top beach destination in the country, due to environmental concerns that involved improper waste management.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu reasoned that it might be because of the lack of garbage bins in the area and assured the public that he has already ordered the environmental patrols to place one.
This prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” against littering in the top tourist destination, especially near its beaches.
However, towards the end of October, it was reported that more than 6,000 trash was found on the island.
Recently, Duterte announced that he would close select establishments in El Nido, Palawan—another top tourist destination known for its pristine-white beaches—for violating regulations.
His announcement came weeks after Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat visited the island and discovered rampant trash that prompted her to write a letter addressed to its local government.
Puyat disclosed that there are more tourist destinations being eyed for rehabilitation—Coron in Palawan, La Union, Panglao in Bohol and Mactan in Cebu.
Six months ago, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers revealed that the Philippines is considered the world’s third largest contributor to plastic in oceans.
“Marine pollution arising from plastic debris and other forms of garbage choking our waterways worsen our environmental problems,” he said, citing a 2015 report on plastic pollution by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.