Gold Negroes. diving paradise to go “zero waste”
The city of Dauin, capital of scuba diving and the seaside resort of the province of Negros Oriental, is considering the adoption of a zero waste policy at the scale of the municipality, in accordance with its objective of being a sustainable tourist destination in the Central Visayas.
The municipal government led by Mayor Galicano Truita recently organized a coastal clean-up attended by local officials, employees, security personnel, barangay volunteers and tourism stakeholders as part of the Dauin Resorts Association and the Negros Oriental Dive Association.
The event, which brought together some 150 participants from eight barangays, also had a simultaneous underwater cleanup by volunteer divers from the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The cleanup was part of the celebration of International Coastal Cleanup Day and included an educational component that integrated environmental, waste management and recycling initiatives within the municipality.
The coastal municipality prides itself on its rich ridge-to-reef ecosystem due to its forested uplands and lush marine life.
According to Truita, Dauin’s new environmental orientation is inspired by the citation received by its main tourist site, Apo Island, which was recently awarded as the country’s first “zero waste” island barangay by the Zero Waste Project. Cities (ZWCP) because of its community. livelihood projects based on upcycling.
ZWCP is an initiative of GAIA Asia-Pacific and 10 collaborator members from India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and is funded by the Plastic Solutions Fund.
The project promotes solid waste management at the local level, enabling waste reduction policies and creating income opportunities in the handling and processing of recyclable materials.
The island currently has four purok-level material recovery facilities that integrate solid waste into building aggregates, resort furniture and decorative items.
One of the country’s top scuba diving spots, Apo boasts a strong marine biodiversity with lush coral gardens, sea turtles, a school of trevally and other aquatic resources.
The 74 hectare island is also recognized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources as a protected seascape and landscape.
In 2019, the area also won the prestigious seventh Para El Mar award as the most outstanding marine protected area under the government’s national system of integrated protected areas.
Nominated by Sports divers magazine Among the top 100 dive sites in the world, Apo is home to over 650 species of fish and 400 species of corals, from tiny bubbles to huge gorgonians and brain corals.
Taking its eco-friendly lifestyle a step further, the island village is testing the use of organic shampoos and body washes, lime bar soap, organic liquid laundry and dishwashing solutions to remove gradually the plastic waste bags.
The social enterprise is a partnership with Silver Reef Dive Resort (SRDR) and Plastic Life Sucks which will provide refillable pump bottles and biodegradable toiletries and laundry.
The SRDR is one of the main players in the Dauin Resorts Association and the Dauin Tourist Office.