Before the festival, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed Resolution No. 2019-9-028 authored by Vice Governor Elmer de Peralta which strictly encourages all beach-goers and hotel owners not to use any single-use plastic and styrofoam materials during Sarbay.
“Upon entering the Sarbay Fest area, there is also a 20-peso fee which will go to your Sarbay trash bag where every Sarbay citizen who can collect a minimum of 5 kilos of trash can win an exclusive Sarbay token,” said Michelle Solon, Regional and Provincial Tourism Council chairperson.
“This year, our trash bag has shifted from plastic containers to sacks since we have already an ordinance banning single-use plastics in the area,” she added.
Concessionaires played their role to be part of ‘zero-plastic movement’ too. Styrofoam, plastic cups, and plastic bags were strictly prohibited in the selling area.
Serafin Ramos Jr., Sarangani information officer, said majority of the merrymakers disposed of their garbage properly.
He cited the environmental awareness campaign conducted by the provincial government in line with the celebration of SarBay festival.
Sponsors such as Globe, TNT, San Miguel Brewery Inc., Marlboro, Coke, and more, had their unique activities in keeping Sarbay clean and green. Art installations were placed along the shore where people can throw their trash, cigarette butts in exchange of freebies, and empty bottles that can be redeemed as mobile loads.
To also instill responsible garbage disposal, the provincial government’s Sulong Kabataan and Sulong Tribu programs collaborated with Smart Communications, Inc. for a scheme that involved giving a phone load for plastics thrown at designated garbage stations.
Eliodoro Alcaya Jr., environmental in charge of Sarbay team, said “we have at least 150 sweepers, 50 sweepers each shift in 24 hours to keep Sarbay clean.”
From the trash collected, 40% were reusable, 30% were residual and 30% were biodegradable.
As of June 2, Alcaya said volunteers have gathered 2,548 kilograms or 2.5 tons of garbage in collection areas at the beaches of Gumasa, main venue of Sarbay, for the duration of the festival.
In partnership with Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC), Protected Area Management Board and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, exhibits were displayed beside the Sarbay entrance. ECPC offered interactive games, advocacy and information dissemination such as awareness on endangered species in Sarangani Bay.
Bernadette Tayab, 23, of barangay San Roque was on her third time to be a Sarbay cleaner. “Limpyo na karon. Dili kaparehas dati sa akong first time na Sarbay nga daghan kaayog basura,” she said.
Sulong Kabataan headed by John Oliver Tablazon held a Sarbay Planet Camp for the youth. One of the goals of Planet Camp is to change the minds of millennials to go to the beach not just for fun, but also to be environmental advocates. (Donna Mahusay/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)