Boracay stinks of days-old island waste

Marje Pelayo   •   January 2, 2020   •   432

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – Garbage is everywhere in Boracay Island after days of heavy rains and winds brought about by Typhoon Ursula.

A source sent UNTV images showing piles of garbage along the sidewalks believed to be from households and commercial establishments within the island.

The source said that piles of trash have been there for more than eight days already and that no help from the local government has come to transfer the garbage even domestic wastes out of the island.

Power lines are still cut except for the main roads which causes heavier burden to residents because the price of fuel particularly diesel has soared to P57/L – P67/L.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) explained that the typhoon not only affected the garbage collectors but it also damaged their equipment.

“Ang tunay pong sitwasyon ay biktima po ang mga kasama natin diyan na maglilinis nung Boracay, (The real situation there is, even our men who are supposed to collect and clear the garbage were also victims or affected by the typhoon,)” noted Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.

What’s worse, the official said, is that residents lack discipline.

They keep on piling garbage even right after the previous batch has been collected.

The Department, nevertheless, promised to send additional personnel and dump trucks to collect the garbage and clear the island.

Antiporda also confirmed allowing exemptions to permit the delivery of petroleum products into the island. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DENR Bicol rescues Lesser Frigatebird

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 29, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol has rescued a Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) at Barangay Dapdap, Bulusan, Sorsogon.

In a Facebook post, the DENR Bicol said two fishermen saw the female wildlife struggling to fly along the coast of Barangay Dapdap.

DENR Bicol, through the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Sorsogon, assisted in the interview, inspection, proper assessment and recovery of the wildlife species.

The wildlife was turned over to Irosin Wildlife Rescue Center for temporary shelter, rehabilitation and recovery before its release to the wild.

“The female Lesser Frigatebird has a wingspan measuring 1.72 meters with a long forked tail and a massive curved tip bill,” the DENR Bicol said.

Lesser Frigatebird is a seabird commonly found in tropical and subtropical waters across the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as off the Atlantic Coast of Brazil.—AAC

COA flags DENR over failed National Greening Program

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s National Greening Program launched by the Aquino Administration in 2011 is a five-year project which aimed at planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of forest land in the country.

However, based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) in December 2019, only 12% of the target area has been planted up to this date.

Based on COA’s assessment, there was a problem with the former administration’s strategy and planning as the number of personnel was smaller as compared to the scope of the job.

Most trees ended up dying due to lack of care.

Some may have survived but they are among trees fit for agroforestry such as cacao.

“Ang pinakamalaking problema talaga is maraming hindi nag survive. Bakit hindi nag survive? Iyong wrong timing of planting, tapos wrong species and at the same time, of course, ang climate change (The biggest problem really was many didn’t survive. Why? Due to wrong timing and wrong species. At the same time, climate change),” the official explained.

At present, COA said, only about 7M hectares remain as forest land in the country which is only about 41.5% as compared to the scope of forest lands in 1934.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said there is no use blaming the former administration for what happened to the program.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said they are now working on ways to accomplish the program’s target.

“Magkakaroon ng impounding area for water and soil para lang sa pangangailangan nitong NGP natin, (We will establish impounding area for water and soil as required by the NGP,)” he said.

“This are the preparations na hindi nila nakita noon, (which they failed to note in the past,)” he added.

COA explained in its report that indeed immediate action is necessary to accomplish the program but it careful planning is also important.

The DENR agrees and is planning to reach out and seek the help of the communities in the target areas.

“Ngayon community based tayo. Itong community na ito kung ilang ektarya ang kaya niya, doon tayo. Hindi sapilitan ang gagawin, (We will do community based approach. We will determine how many hectares a community can accomplish planting. It will not be mandatory,)” Antiporda explained.

The officials said they are prioritizing bamboo for the initial phase of the tree planting as it easily grows and has variety of use.

COA recommends the use of drones to accurately identify the target areas for tree planting. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DENR to push for more sanitary landfills to solve PH garbage problems

Marje Pelayo   •   January 2, 2020

A Filipino scavenger carries a sack full of reusable materials at a garbage dumpsite in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 17 April 2009. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is pushing for the construction of additional sanitation landfills in the country.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the Department will be needing P7 billion to kick start this project which targets 248 districts across the country.

Antiporda believes such a project would provide a swift solution to the garbage problem in the Philippines and use technology for the benefit of the environment.

Based on the record of the DENR Environmental Management Bureau, the country has a total of 187 sanitary landfills.

“Puwedeng gawing methane iyan. Iyong harvesting ng methane doon sa basura pwede ring gawin. Mayroon na tayong waste to energy [conversion],” Antiporda said.

The official said they only have P1-B for the Department’s recyclable projects.

They are planning to include the budget request for that project in next year’s proposal.

Payatas dumpsite has been one of the busiest sanitary landfills that cater primarily to Metro Manila.

However, the government ordered it closed in 2017.

At present, Metro Manila wastes are being dumped at Rodriguez dumpsite in Rizal.

Another concern, Antiporda said, is the rehabilitation of Manila Bay that is being delayed by continuous contamination from irresponsible garbage disposals in creeks.

Based on government data in 2016, more than nine 9,000 metric tons of garbage were collected from Metro Manila alone, followed by Regions 4A and 3.

About 57% of those collected were domestic wastes.

The World Bank in a 2012 study predicts that in 2025, garbage generation in the Philippines will increase by 165%. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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