‘Scubasurero’ targets underwater solid waste

CURRIMAO, Ilocos Norte – Researchers from a state-run university in Ilocos Norte have proven that scuba diving is efficient in ridding beaches of litter.

Dubbed as “scubasurero,” the beach clean up team was formed by the College of Aquatic Science and Applied Technology (CASAT) of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) under University President Dr. Miriam Pascua to address the problem on underwater solid waste posing dangers to fishermen, barefoot pinickers and tourists who are fond of sea-borne adventures.

Professor Andres V. Tungpalan, dean of the MMSU-CASAT campus in this coastal town, said the school’s team of scuba divers started collecting garbage underwater in the different coastal areas in the province since 2007.

“We formed the group after we saw a lot of broken glasses, sharp metals and plastic bottles, etc. embedded underwater when our scuba divers gathered specimens for our marine related researches,” Tungpalan said.

These metals and plastics also pose danger to the health of marine animals and coral reefs, it was learned.

At present, the school has 15 well-trained active “scubasureros” who routinely conduct underwater clean–up drive.

Last Friday, the MMSU–Currimao campus initiated a massive coastal and underwater clean-up drive in Currimao Bay covering at least 10 barangays with the support and cooperation from the local and barangay officials and employees from the national government agencies.

“Our coastal clean-up drive aims to remove whatever debris along the beachlines and make people aware on the importance of cleanliness so that they can share in mitigating the effect of climate change and global warming,” he said. (FREDDIE G. LAZARO)