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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Earth Day Network Philippines (EDNP) will once again join hands in leading the country’s biggest celebration for the environment when they and other partners celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, at the Ayala Gardens, Makati City.

As the keynote speaker, DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is expected to make a report on the state of the Philippine environment and what the Philippines has achieved to improve the country’s environmental integrity. “True to this year’s theme, which is ‘Earth Day Every Day, Everywhere,’ we will show how the DENR and the rest of the Filipino people have worked in partnership for the environment,” he said.

The DENR chief will join co-convenors Earth Day Network Philippines (EDNP) President Roberto Guevara, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr., and officials of Ayala Land, Inc. during the half-day celebration to be held at the Ayala Triangle Gardens, behind the Philippine Stock Exchange building along Ayala Avenue.

One of the highlights of the celebration will be a walk for the environment called the “e-lakad”, where a 300-person contingent from the DENR and its bureaus and attached agencies will walk along Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas and converge at the program site. They will bear bayongs to be turned over to the other event organizers and later given to other participants in support to Makati City’s campaign to reduce the use of plastics.

Mayor Binay will also reinforce his city’s campaign against plastics when he administers the oath-taking of some 200 members of Makati’s anti-plastics monitoring task force from the different barangays city-wide.

The celebration will start at 6:00 AM with a “Takbo at Diyalogo para sa Kalikasan” and a mass sponsored by the Makati City government. EDNP will also declare its “Earth Day Ambassadors” for different sectors. Other sidelights include an infusion of cultural and musical presentations, as well as an exhibit on the different environmental advocacies of different agencies and companies.

The first Earth Day was celebrated 42 years ago when then US Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin witnessed the adverse impacts of a massive oil spill in 1969 on the environment in and around Santa Barbara in California. The celebration became global in 1990, and nine years later the international secretariat called on the formal organization of local networks working for the goal of sustainable development. In the Philipines, the annual celebration of April 22 as earth day was declared through Presidential Proclamation No. 1481 signed in 2008, with the DENR as the main convenor for the celebration.