Arriving at sunrise, it was a beautiful day for bird watching at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).
Just off Cavitex, LPPCHEA is known as an important resting and refueling stop for migratory birds using the East Asian–Australasian Migratory Flyway from the months of October to March. The critical habitat hosts around 41 species of migratory birds, with some coming from as far as China, Japan, Russia and Siberia.
As the bird watchers settled by the coastline, dozens of birds were getting a head start on their first meals for the day. Some were flying overhead and swooping down the water to catch fish, while others were wading about and picking out small fish and crustaceans by the shore.
Unfortunately, what was supposedly a relaxing experience drew a terribly agitating picture as elegant birds were against a backdrop of assorted plastic, glass, textile and rubber waste.
According to a Department of Environment and Natural Resources field staff assigned at LPPCHEA, “Hindi nauubos ang basura dito [We do not run out of trash in here].” The refuge of the migratory birds from their long journey does not look at all inviting, and if we don’t do anything soon, we might not get these yearly visitors along our shores anymore.
Environmental group Haribon Foundation said there should be a sense of urgency and understanding on how people dispose solid wastes as this directly impacts the environment and wildlife. Wildlife can end up eating toxic solid wastes, which also end up in the seas and oceans that marine species feed on. Eventually, humans who eat marine products also get affected.
What can be done
Here are what can be done:
1. Take a good look at our own consumer habits. When we use single-use and disposable items, when we purchase individually packaged products, when we buy things we don’t need and end up discarding them—we unknowingly add to the trash that litters our oceans.
2. Learn to maximize what we have and reuse when possible. Instead of quickly disposing things, repairing them is a better option.
3. Join a cleanup activity. Several environmental conservation organizations like the Haribon Foundation conduct coastal clean ups that help rid our waters of trash while at the same time raising awareness about our consumer lifestyle. Gather your group of friends or officemates and help make our oceans a little bit cleaner for us and for our wildlife.
Everyone can do their part and contribute in little ways, like conserving areas like the LPPCHEA.
To join Haribon’s conservation activities, visit its Facebook page fb.com/goharibon or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.