DENR Bicol urges public to observe a trash-free Undas

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol has urged the public to avoid generating unnecessary waste and pollution as they troop to cemeteries to remember their departed loved ones this weekend.

DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said All Saints Day and All Souls Day in November 1 and 2 respectively, are expected to significantly increase waste generation. 

“These holidays would be more meaningful and memorable experience if everybody will find ways of avoiding trash, like using reusable or recyclable materials so we can generate minimal amount of waste,” Dir. Gonzales explained. 

RED Gonzales added that the easiest way to ensure a trash-free Undas is by abiding with the 3 R’s of solid waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle. “In sum, it is by way of utilizing recyclable or reusable materials in packing food and drinks likewise by throwing garbage in specifically coded bins for proper segregation” he said. 

An estimated 1,022 tons of garbage is generated in Bicol Region everyday and an aggregate 30,000 tons of trash nationwide, but the volume shoots up geometrically during public holidays.  Under the Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, a person caught littering could be fined from P300 to P1,000, or is asked to render community service. 

The DENR also encouraged cemetery administrators to set up enough strategically-located receptacles for different types of waste, and to strictly implement waste-related local ordinances like prohibiting the use of plastic bags. And likewise proposed setting up barangay brigades that would go around cemeteries and monitor littering incidents. 

He advised local governments to conduct immediate cleanup activities since littered garbage would result to clogged waterways that might cause floods and ultimately flushed to the open seas which would put in danger marine biodiversity. 

For the general public, DENR gave the following pointers on ensuring a green celebration of All Saints and All Souls Days:  abide by local ordinances regarding the use of; plastic bags; reduce wastage by bringing only a sufficient amount of food; use fresh flowers and small potted plants; and lessen air pollution by ensuring that vehicles are well-maintained, observing carpooling, or using public transportation.  

Press Release: October 30, 2014

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STATEMENT OF DENR SECRETARY GINA LOPEZ ON THE PROPOSED UNDERWATER THEME PARK IN CORON, PALAWAN

“If the underwater theme park would cause the destruction of corals, right away, I will say no way. The fishermen need corals. The corals are the home for the fish, and some of our corals have shells and sponges that can cure cancer. I will never allow our biodiversity to be killed for money that some people want to make.

The Philippines is a country of seven thousand islands, which has the highest endemism per unit area in the entire world, while Palawan is the number one island destination in the planet. It has rich biodiversity and lots of ecotourism potentials that should be primarily tapped by the Filipino people for the Filipino people.

In any case, whatever decision that the DENR will make shall be filtered and anchored on social justice, which means that the marine resources of Palawan should benefit the greater majority.”###

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