DENR calls on gov’t, business sector to address problem of plastic pollution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 4, 2019   •   1068

DPWH personnel collect plastic waste from polluted esteros | Courtesy: DENR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the government and business sectors to work together in addressing plastic pollution in the country.

Assistant Secretary and Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said lessening the use of plastics can help prevent marine creatures from ingesting plastic.

“We urge everyone to join the pledge for our environment; a pledge that will institutionalize our collective and collaborative action towards addressing the issue of marine debris,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DENR eyes on rehabilitating Baguio City’s Balili River, which coliform level is even worse than that of the Manila Bay.—AAC

EcoWaste urges youth not to light firecrackers for safe, non-toxic new year

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 12, 2019

Environmental group, EcoWaste Coalition urged the youth not to light any firecrackers and fireworks for a safe and non-toxic new year.

In a statement released on Thursday (December 12), the eco-group said they launched ‘Iwas Paputoxic’ to encourage families and communities to turn away from the dangerous and polluting tradition of detonating firecrackers and fireworks to welcome the New Year.

“The misuse of firecrackers and fireworks can cause blast injuries or burns that may require amputation, eye damage that may lead to blindness, tetanus, poisoning and even death with children as the most affected” Thony Dizon said, the Chemical Safety Campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.

The EcoWaste Coalition further urged the public not to burn used tires on New Year’s eve which can generate loads of pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and other toxic chemicals that are harmful to a person’s health and to the environment.—AAC

DENR doubles efforts to solve ‘garbage crisis’ in M. Manila to save Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   December 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu expressed dismay over what he calls a ‘garbage crisis’ in Metro Manila.

He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) efforts to clean up Manila Bay, in particular, are becoming useless because of the recurring problems of improper garbage disposals in nearby areas.

“We have started the clean up only this year, in January. After we cleaned up, we left behind a clean shoreline, one day or two days, andyan na naman (there are garbage again),” he told reporters in a chance interview Thursday (December 5).

“Meaning, hindi naso-solve ang garbage (problem is not solved) by cleaning it right in that area. We have to clean it from the source,” he added.

The Environment Secretary said they have deployed personnel to look into the source of the wastes that pollute Manila Bay.

Based on reports, the problem really starts from the residents or informal settlers living in areas surrounding Manila Bay.

“They found out that really it’s a culture and behavior problems,” Cimatu said.

The official specifically noted the San Juan River where the water is already producing putrid smell.

He noted that the solution to all the garbage problem is indeed a change in behavior among the informal settlers living in esteros.

Starting January 2020, Cimatu plans to focus on cleaning and rehabilitating the San Juan River which he noted as the most polluted river in Metro Manila.

The DENR plans to put up concrete fences that will block the informal settlers any access to the river to stop them from disposing wastes materials straight to the body of water.

The agency also plans to establish a community sewage system where waste water from all households will be collected.

DENR targets ‘swimmable’ Manila Bay by end of 2019

Marje Pelayo   •   November 14, 2019

Volunteers collect rubbish along the shore during the launch of the Manila Bay rehabilitation in Manila, Philippines, 27 January 2019. Thousands of volunteers and government workers gathered at Manila Bay to launch an inter-agency program effort to rehabilitate the waters dubbed as ‘Battle for Manila Bay’. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) wants to improve the quality of water in Manila Bay to make it “swimmable” by the end of the year.

On Wednesday (November 13), DENR tested water sample from a creek near the DENR-NCR office in East Avenue, Quezon City.

An organic solution which is said to reduce pollution level in water has been applied.

“Its 100% organic so pwede siyang inumin ng tao, pwedeng inumin ng hayop, (so it could be consumed by humans and animals),” explained CHC Agritect Archieval Cabral.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu personally witnessed the solution’s effect on the contaminated water.

Cimatu said the agency plans to study whether the solution can be used to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

The DENR targets to make its water swimmable or safe for recreation before the end of the year.

“Ang first ano natin is ma-cleanup ang Manila Bay, ang fecal coliform. Iyon ang pinaka-target natin na mapababa, (First, we need to clean up Manila Bay’s fecal coliform content. That’s what we are targeting to reduce,)” Cabral said.

The DENR plans to construct three outfalls and a treatment plant near the Manila Yacht Club in Roxas Boulevard to help reduce pollution in Manila Bay.

“Especially kung nandyan na yung treatment plant talagang bababa na iyon, (Especially if the treatment plant is already working, [coliform content] will be further reduced),” Cimatu said.

“Kasi yung mga matataas na coliform diyan mati-treat nito (Because if coliform content is high, the facility will treat the water),” he assured.

The DENR will commission at least 2,000 personnel to maintain cleanliness in creeks across Metro Manila that discharge water to Manila Bay.

“Kasi kahit maglinis-linis tayo sa dagat kung tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang pagbaba ng garbage coming from the esteros, ay ganun pa rin, (Even if we do clean up drives but garbage disposals coming from the esteros continue, the situation will remain the same),” Secretary Cimatu said.

“So, we have to solve the problem from the sources,” he added. – MNP (with EXCLUSIVE interview by Rey Pelayo)

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