Earth Day 2011 brings together 33 barangays to save Diliman Creek

Today's (April 19) advanced celebration of Earth Day at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, saw the unity of local leaders of 33 barangays traversing Diliman Creek and its tributaries, as well as officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Quezon City government and non-government organizations  to save the creek and improve its deteriorated state.  

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P.  Paje, who led the signing of the memorandum of agreement, said the partnership will strengthen the rehabilitation of Diliman Creek, which is one of the major tributaries of Pasig River.
“Maintaining clean waterways is a collective priority. The first MoA we signed for Diliman Creek was with the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association, and this time we are strengthening the participation of the barangays surrounding the creek to prevent garbage from clogging the waterway and floating these downstream,” Paje said. 

Other signatories to the MOA were Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) President Louie Sarmiento, and Sagip Ilog Pilipinas Movement Executive Director Myrna Jimenez. Serving as witnesses in the signing were local officials of the 33 barangays, DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Juan Miguel Cuna, EMB-National Capital Region Director Roberto Sheen, and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Rodrigo Cabrera.

Part of the strategy to ensure the minimization of garbage that are dumped in Diliman Creek is the simultaneous clean up of Diliman Creek and its tributaries by 33 barangays traversing it every fourth Sunday of the month. This will start on April 24.
In preparation for the upcoming clean up, PMSEA will distribute cleaning implements such as gloves, shovels, and other cleaning materials to each of the 33 barangays.

The undertaking forms part of the “Adopt-an-Estero Program” which encourages the private sector, national and local governments and the civil society to extend support in cleaning up waterways in urban centers. 

Under the MoA, the parties will undertake expanded environmental improvement of Diliman Creek as well as conduct information and education campaigns, community mobilization activities, and trainings for concerned stakeholders in support of the program. 

For its part, the DENR, through LLDA and EMB, will intensify the monitoring of industrial and commercial establishments, and undertake, among others, regular water quality monitoring and provide the necessary technical assistance to concerned leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.

In addition, the concerned parties also agreed to determine the necessity of, and to the extent possible, plan for more dredging and de-silting of the creek, introduction of interventions such as phyto-remediation through constructed wetlands, planting of bamboo and other plant species along the river banks, rip-rapping or coco-matting, construction and greening of linear parks.

To date, a total of 58 MoAs have been signed with various private companies nationwide to help revive water bodies in different portions of the country. 


Paje appeals for a more environment-friendly summer, Holy Week

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is once again urging the public to be conscious of their carbon footprint as they engage in various activities this summer season.

The season also marks the Holy Week break, when Filipinos are able to spend more time with their families and loved ones whether in the provinces or taking vacation trips elsewhere. 

“Filipinos, largely Christians by religion, traditionally use this time to atone for their sins. Religious beliefs aside, let us be sorry about our actions that may have contributed to the degradation of our environment. And since reparation comes with atonement, let us then use the time to care for and cultivate God’s creation to make up for our ‘sins’,” he said.

Paje also said that the summer vacation is “a good time to encourage students to put science to work, especially those that relate to the care of the environment.”  

In Friday’s First Consultative Meeting on the National Greening Program (NGP), the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education have committed to mobilize students in various activities of NGP such as tree planting, seedling production and waste segregation at source.  For this, Paje, who is a forester by profession, is urging everyone, especially the students, to start collecting seeds of fruits they consume, and may even try to plant them in pots or empty cans and nurture them until they are ready for transplanting come the rainy season.

The NGP, which the DENR is mandated to lead the implementation of, along with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform,  aims to plant a billion and a half trees in 1.5 million hectares over a six-year period. 

For Holy Week and the rest of the summer vacation, the environment chief gives the following pointers to reduce one’s carbon footprint:

  • Motorists should make sure their vehicles are well-maintained to be more fuel-efficient and thus minimize air pollution, which is usually aggravated by the dry weather. Better yet, get involved in hiking or biking activities that promote better human and environmental health.
  • Practice solid waste management by recycling or reducing waste, as well as bringing reusable bags and containers when going to markets or supermarkets. Dispose of garbage properly, and avoid throwing litter especially in beaches, rivers and other water bodies.  Also, minimize the use of plastic bags.
  • Encourage neighbors to engage in cleaning up surroundings like declogging of storm drainage in preparation for the rainy season.
  • Avoid wasteful consumption of resources especially paper, water and electricity.
The DENR secretary also reminded the vacationers to take care in disturbing the conditions of flora and fauna especially in eco-tourism spots. “Environmentalists believe in and practice the saying, ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.’ This is what we need to observe to make sure that future generations will still enjoy what we are enjoying now,” said Paje. 


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