Children as young as five years old took part in the clean-up of the Sungwan spring, located at the foothills of Mt. San Cristobal, San Pablo City. These young eco-warriors, ages 5-16 years old are sons, daughters and grandchildren of the members of the San Cristobal Farmers Association (SCFA).
Upon arriving in the area, a group of women were doing their typical laundry chores on the side while young kids plunge into the cold waters to their delight. But the wonder was short-lived for a group on a mission to help reduce the river wastes after catching sight of the rubbish in and around the spring.
“It’s disheartening to know that people throw trash in here. We collected a lot of plastic garbage,” shared Jamil, 14 years old.
The crystal clear waters of Sungwan mirrors pieces of non-biodegradable wastes such as plastics, sachets of shampoo, soap, detergent, junk food packs and tin cans. The Sungwan springs is a source of potable and household water, and supplies irrigation for recreational activities such as fishing and swimming. It also provides water for livestock and agricultural crops for the community of San Cristobal, which flows downstream to the famous Bato Springs and to other connecting barangays in Quezon province.
“We’ve been doing these clean-up drives for years but improper waste disposal of residents around the area continues to be a problem,” laments Albeniz Calapine, President of the San Cristobal Farmers Association.
The farmers’ group told environmental organization Haribon Foundation that the current state of the Sungwan spring signals a wake-up call to local officials. As a response, Haribon aims to conduct an information drive to surrounding communities, together with the SCFA and the barangay officials of San Cristobal.
“Prompt action for the responsible use of the Sungwan springs cannot be overemphasized,” said the Haribon Foundation. “It serves as an important source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation for which communities depend upon on a daily basis.”
Fifteen-year-old Abegail has made this summer activity a yearly habit, together with her parents and friends every Earth Day. “I wish to see more participants joining the drive and less people polluting the spring.”
The Sungwan spring clean-up drive is a yearly activity of the San Cristobal Farmers Association.
Through Haribon’s ROAD to 2020 movement, the San Cristobal Farmers Association takes part in the rehabilitation of more than 42 hectares of depleted forest lands in San Pablo City, Laguna.
Haribon’s ROAD to 2020 project is an environmental conservation movement committed to bring back Philippine rainforests by engaging partners at all levels including local governments, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, private organizations, schools and individuals.