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Iloilo City will be joining 11 cleanup sites globally happening on March 17-25 supported by two international environment advocate groups to highlight the celebration of World Water Day 2012 Program.

“The recognitions for Iloilo River are a manifestation that we the Ilonggos should take good care of our river. It has given our ancestors life, it is giving us life, it will give life to our children, and our children’s children. We are blessed to have the abundance of the river. All we have to do is to rehabilitate, preserve and protect it,” stressed Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

The Iloilo River trash cleanup is slated between Match 22 to 24. This year’s activity will be conducted in a “more concerted fashion” with participation from various groups. This is also being planned to set the stage for the International River Summit May 30 – June 1 to be held here.

The Rivers of the World (ROW) Foundation will be conducting trash cleanup and other awareness activities for Iloilo River, Iloilo City, Philippines along with Yangtze Kiang River in Wuhan City, China; eight Indian rivers  Yamuna River in Agra;  Yamuna River in Gokul; Yamuna River upstream near Dehradun; Ganges River in Rishikesh; Hooghly River in Kolkata; Daya River near Bhuvaneswar; Barak River, Silchar (Assam); and River/Lake Restoration Awareness in Vizianagaram, South India; and Bagmati River in Kathmandu area, Nepal.

These projects are in partnership with and motivated by a similar project in Washington, DC, USA to clean-up the Potomac River by the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

“Plastic bags will be used by the volunteers to collect recyclable items and trash to be disposed. The recyclables will be transported to the recycling centers and arrangements are being made for the trash to be picked up by the city garbage collection system,” said City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Noel Hechanova.

After the garbage cleanups, information along with pictures will be released publicly about how much volume/weight and types including paper, plastics, soda cans, bulk items such as tires, among others, of trash collected.

Both ROW Foundation and Alice Ferguson Foundation will have listing of volunteers and pictures from the cleanups as submitted by the coordinators to be posted on the websites for public awareness.

The Iloilo River is actually a 15-kilometer long estuarine, deriving fresh water from rivers and creeks that are connected to it and saline water from the sea that feeds it.

The waterway situated at the heart of the city maintains a high level of productive biological activities as it serves as nursery for many important fish species such as bangus and tilapia while the rise and fall of the tide makes it possible for nutrients (such as planktons and detritus) to circulate in and out of the estuary which is home to 22 of the country’s 35 mangrove species, according to studies.