World Oceans Day was first celebrated globally in the year 2008. Since then, nations across the world incessantly participate. It is important to celebrate and increase awareness about the crucial role the oceans play in our lives. In Malabago, located at the northernmost part of Zambales, most citizens rely on the ocean for their livelihood.

On June 10, 2021, Eramen Minerals Inc. (EMI) organized a coastal cleaning and mangrove planting activity at sitio Bangan, Malabago, Sta. Cruz, Zambales. At around 8 o’clock in the morning, EMI’s employees, with the joint cooperation of the Sta. Cruz-PNP and Malabago barangay officials, proceeded to Sitio Bangan’s coastline to start the clean-up drive. After hours of hard work, over 30 sacks of garbage were collected and properly disposed of. Afterward, the group converged in Malabago’s covered court for a simple program. Mr. Edward Dalangin gave an opening message regarding the theme of World Oceans Day this year. Throughout the program, raffle draws took place in response to the enthusiasm displayed by EMI employees.

In addition, Mrs. Victoria Apostol, Forester III at CENRO, Masinloc, Zambales, gave an awe-inspiring lecture about the ocean and its importance to mankind and every living being. “The world is composed of 70% water, and it is us, the inhabitants, that is responsible for the ocean’s sustainable development,” said Mrs. Apostol. EMI employees listened to Mrs. Apostol’s lecture attentively. “We really gained a lot this time,” said one of the employees. From time to time, intermission numbers were presented to provide entertainment and to further liven up the crowd.

It was 2:30 pm when the seashore began transitioning into the low tide, which allowed EMI to begin planting mangroves much earlier than expected. Planting mangroves require persistence and endurance coupled with the EMI employees’ resolution and dedication to restore the environment. 1,000 mangroves were carefully planted along the coastline. Mangroves provide natural barriers from storm surges during extreme weather events. It also serves as a prominent breeding ground for fishes and other marine creatures. Furthermore, it mends the surrounding ecosystem by filtering pollutants, thereby improving water quality. EMI believes that a substantially garbage-free ocean will be seen after centuries or even decades of celebrating World Oceans Day and staying true to its advocacy throughout the year.