A Watsons cleanup in support of International Coastal Cleanup Day involving employees and supplier partners

On September 17, a large group of Watsons employees and supplier-partners gathered at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habit and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) for an ocean cleanup.

The initiative, which took place on International Cleanup Day, is part of Watsons’ commitment to DO GOOD for the oceans. It was a partnership between the health, wellness and beauty retailer and CORA (Communities Organized for Resource Allocation), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating sustainable programs to help address global issues including climate change and plastic pollution.

“We were surprised by the number of volunteers. Our supplier-partners immediately said yes, and so did our employees,” said Viki Encarnacion, director of public relations and sustainability at Watsons Philippines.

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Ramil Horario, one of the staff-volunteers, is the functional financial controller of Watsons. This is his first cleanup at the company, but his fifth as an environmentally conscious person. “I grew up in Cavite and I have seen the waters go from clean to moderately clean. I am very proud to work for a company that is committed to doing its part for the environment,” said Horario.

As a company that cares about the planet, Watsons, a leading health, wellness and beauty retailer, is always looking for ways to make a positive impact on its customers and communities. The activity was expected to raise awareness and encourage volunteers to make changes in their lifestyle. For example, since part of the waste collected during the activity was plastic bottles, the volunteers noted how important it is to bring a reusable drum for drinking.

Mismanaged waste ends up in our oceans and beaches, resulting in pollution and endangering marine life. Ocean trash is dangerous not only for animals, but also for humans. For example, plastics will never completely disappear; they simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics. These microplastics can enter the human body through inhalation and absorption and accumulate in organs. Due to the pandemic, the amount of waste from plastic bottles, face masks, plastic bags, Styrofoam, cutlery and straws has also increased (source: UN Environment Programme).

The Critical Habits and Ecotourism Area of ​​Las Piñas-Parañaque is a group of buildings in Las Piñas that help inform the public about the importance of preserving and judicious use of mangroves and other wetlands in the 175 hectares that make up the protected area. . “The beach cleanup is part of Watsons DO GOOD efforts for the ocean. As with all of our sustainability programs, we’ve learned that we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve partnered with CORA and local government and involved our employees and supplier partners. We have to help each other, to DO GOOD,” said Viki Encarnacion, Director of Public Relations and Sustainability at Watsons.

The #CORAcleanUps program helps remove plastic pollution from our Philippine seas and provides livelihood to the “Bakawan Warriors” waste workers who collect marine debris from Manila Bay and surrounding areas and preserve LPPCHEA’s biodiversity.

Celebrity and humanitarian Antonette Taus is the founder and executive director of CORA. Appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Environment Programme, she has dedicated her life to using her platform to advocate for hunger and poverty, climate change, mental health, plastic pollution and other global issues. “We are very pleased that a retailer like Watsons is a responsible citizen of the planet and is partnering with us in this cleanup effort. Plastic pollution and mismanaged waste are serious environmental issues,” said Taus.

Event attendees included members of the media, bloggers and influencers, as well as Watsons staff-volunteers and trade suppliers. Participants took part in a dance warm-up as part of Watsons’ Get Active programme, before finally cleaning up. After that, the collected garbage was weighed and the participants were rewarded. “The Get Active program encourages not only our employees but also our customers to be physically active, and what better way to do that than with a weekend cleanup drive,” said Jared de Guzman, customer director of Watsons Philippines.

“The activity is also Watson’s way of encouraging our customers to take care of their health and the health of the planet. It’s really good for you and good for the planet,” said Encarnacion.