Last July 30, 2016, iVolunteer Philippines hosted a Community Meet-up (CMU) entitled Project Planet, led by guest speakers from the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) and Let’s Do it Philippines at Integreon in 6750 Ayala, Makati. The spotlight was both on the environment and us citizens, as stewards of our natural resources. The significance of building habits and participating in sustainable initiatives were key takeaways from the experts, who inspired everyone to actively play the role of a responsible custodian of our environment.
Ms. Elenida Basug of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) opened the session with a few of the most important facts on three environmental factors – air quality, water quality and solid waste. All of these are controllable, showing how our everyday activities add up, and eventually becoming very grave threats to our environment. A quick look at such information offers an overview on what immediate steps we can take as well as what habits to break, in order to lessen our own negative impact on our natural resources.
a. 80% of air pollution is due to vehicular emission
b. 18M Filipinos are exposed to air pollution.
a. 7 Billion – annual cost of water borne diseases
b. The Supreme Court has issued a memorandum in December 2008 for the massive clean-up of Manila Bay.
a. 30,000 tons – amount of garbage produced daily within the country.
b. 8,000 tons – amount of garbage Metro Manila produces per day (1,400 truckloads of garbage).
c. 50% – amount of garbage collected nationwide, and 70% in Metro Manila.
d. 30% – amount of garbage found in waterways and drainage that causes floods.
The DENR is continuously rolling out programs and campaigns at the grass-roots level, promoting the ownership of our natural resources within our barangays, through the help of the private sector. The government agency is also targeting the young ones – the students, to practice proper stewardship through programs they can easily apply within their schools and homes. Clearly, taking care of the environment should be made through collaborative efforts of the different sectors of the community, as it directly affects quality even up to future generations
a. Adopt an Estero program by the local and private sector
- 638 Memorandum of Agreement signed
- 400 bodies of water adopted all over the countryb. Linis Hangin Program
- Bantay Tambutso (Motor vehicle management program)
- Bantay Tsiminea (Industrial emission)
- Bantay Sunog Basura (Pag-sisiga)
c. National Eco-Savers Program: Empowering the Filipino School Children through Eco-Saving
- Students were given school supplies for the recyclables they turn over to the school
- Awarded selected public high schools in Metro Manila for their exemplary performance in reducing greenhouse gas emission (GHGs), solid waste management and other environmental practices in their campuses.
Apart from large-scale projects led by the DENR, Ms. Elenida also zeroed in on some basic but impactful practices that anyone of us could start applying within our households and offices. There is indeed no excuse when it comes to doing our part, as simple actions, when made into a routine, will also develop into a lifestyle that is pro-environment and pro-earth.
- Skip the bottled water. Bring reusable water bottles to school and at work.
- Switch off. Lights turned on or gadgets that are plugged even when not in use can add up to one’s electricity bill.
- Save water. Recycle water whenever you can, repair leaks and make sure faucets are tightly closed.
- Re-use paper and plastics.
- Recycle with a heart. Give away materials or clothes you are no longer using.
- Use energy-efficient lighting (LED).
- Patronize eco-friendly products. These are less harmful to the environment and safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals.
- Segregate garbage.
- Use a bike as a mode of transportation.
- Consider carpooling.More info on DENR projects here: http://r6.denr.gov.ph/
Let’s Do it Philippines – September 17 National Cleanup Day
Aside from DENR, Let’s do it Philippines as represented by Ms. Janine Vicente, also participated in the event, through offering an invitation to the National Cleanup campaign happening on September 17, 2016, as endorsed by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB). The campaign aims to harness the force of the Filipinos who have decided to be involved and to collectively join in a massive environmental cleanup project.
The cleanup day is also a call-to-action for interested participants in the #iam5million campaign for the World Clean Up Day on September 8, 2018. At the national level, this will include initiatives on strengthening the understanding and implementation of the RA 9003 national solid wastes act in order to finally stop illegal dumping.
Such efforts signify that every Filipino should stand up for the environment, and that working together and inspiring others is the best way to solve seemingly huge challenges.
More on the cleanup campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/LetsDoItPhilippines/
Plant That Seed Today
The need to be more proactive towards sustainable living to preserve and nurture our natural resources has never been as important as it is now. The initiatives that we implement today shall bear fruit and affect even the next generations. Being privileged to be living in such a beautiful and nourishing planet, we should always seek ways to take care of it the way we protect anyone or anything very dear to us. Let us begin planting better mindsets and habits towards our environment, starting within ourselves, homes and eventually within the community and even the entire country.