NAGA CITY—A three-day cleanup drive in the town of Vinzons in Camarines Norte collected at least two tons of trash from the famous Calaguas group of islands, known for its powdery white sand beach and clear emerald waters.
Divers and employees of the Bicol regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) combed the areas in the villages of Pinagtigasan and Sogod in Calaguas from Sept. 6 to 8.
Nonie P. Enolva, BFAR Bicol spokesperson, said the cleanup, conducted with the local government of Vinzons and the Camarines Norte provincial government was part of BFAR’s campaign for clean seas and coastlines.
BFAR divers, local government employees and villagers collected a total of 1,000 kg of trash from the coastline and uprooted 950 kg of venomous crown-of-thorns in the water.
Enolva said the crown-of-thorns, also called as sea stars, prey on live coral and are capable of gorging on a square meter of coral per month.
Enolva said removing sea stars was an urgent task because “when the coral are gone, it would be difficult for fish to spawn their eggs.”
“Without coral reefs, fishes will have no nursing home and source of food,” she said.
Enolva said those involved in the cleanup also conducted a seminar for villagers living on the islands.
She said the cleanup drive was the third by the BFAR regional office after that in Bulan, Sorsogon, in May and Atulayan island in Camarines Sur.
BFAR Bicol, Enolva said, seeks to reach more coastal areas for cleanup.
The Calaguas group of islands is found off the northern shores of the Camarines Norte towns of Paracale and Vinzons. It has two major islands—Tinaga and Guintinua—and 11 islets.
Mahabang Buhangin beach is on Tinaga island, which is also known as Calaguas, for easy reference and for tourism purposes.
Tinaga is at least two hours by boat from the port of Vinzons. Another port in Paracale also has vessels going to Calaguas.