DENR Bicol leads three environmental celebrations in November

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol through Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) V has slated several activities to mark three very important environmental celebrations: the National Clean Air Month, the National Environmental Awareness Month and the National Climate Change Consciousness Week. 

DENR Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales said the three events are celebrated this month all geared towards the protection of the environment at the same time, awareness raising campaigns to elevate environmental consciousness among Bicolanos. 

RD Gonzales said the EMB regional office has lined up several activities for the month-long celebrations, with the theme, "Environmental Sustainability: Moving Into Greater Actions," focusing on small actions that translate into positive impacts when done collectively.

On November 12, an Operators Forum regarding fuel conservation and efficiency in road transport in partnership with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will be held to apprise key players in the transport industry on Philippine Clean Air Act or RA 8749 among other laws implemented for mobile sources and likewise, to promote the need to curb exhaust pollutants from on-road motor vehicles by maintaining them in good working condition. 

The Air Quality Management Section of the EMB and the LTO will be conducting an anti-smoke belching campaign on November 12-14 in major thoroughfares of the region to complement the campaign of lessening air pollution from mobile sources. 

DENR will also spearhead an Interfaith Conference on Climate Change on November 14 at the Ateneo de Naga University to involve local religious leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation initiative being promoted by the agency. 

The DENR Dalaw Turo program, an innovative educational tool for teaching and promoting environmental messages on nature conservation, will do a series of IEC sorties starting on the second week of November throughout Bicol’s six provinces. 

On November 19-25 the EMB will also be staging a regionwide environmental symposium to mainstream the department’s thrust in environmental protection and management. 

The annual bike for clean air will be on November 22 dubbed as “Pidal para sa gabos: Para sa Malinig na Paros Part III” a staple activity in line with the Clean Air Month which through the years has been making a huge following among bikers and environmental volunteers. 

To cap the month-long celebration, the Bureau will hold a climate change exhibit at Central Plaza Mall, in Daet, Camarines Norte to provide a glimpse of the current state of the global climate, the impact of climate change in the Philippines and the everyday actions that everyone can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Press Release: November 3, 2014

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assured the public that it is doing its best to tackle air pollution and solid waste problems, consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte's "pro-environment and pro-people" agenda.

 

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said that while the department had already put in place clear policies to address those two major environmental issues, a more concrete and decisive measures can be expected under the leadership of Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

 

Soon after he was appointed by President Duterte to the DENR last May, Cimatu, a former Armed Forces chief, promised that full and strict implementation of laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste management will be on top of his priorities.

 

Prior to Cimatu's appointment, Leones noted that the DENR already finished installing several air quality monitoring stations, which are capable of measuring air pollutants, all over the country.

 

"The DENR's Environmental Management Bureau is now equipped with air monitoring equipment and a laboratory capable of detecting and analyzing toxic gas emissions, such as dioxins and furans," Leones said.

 

Dioxins and furans are environmental pollutants that have highly toxic potential.  Dioxins are largely by products of industrial processes and are tagged as unwanted by-products of manufacturing processes usually involving combustion. 

 

Solid and hospital wastes are often worst sources of dioxin released to the environment due to their incomplete burning.

 

At the same time, Leones said the DENR has been actively implementing its waste to energy (WTE) policy.

 

In fact, he said the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) issued last year the guidelines governing the establishment and operation of WTE technologies for municipal solid wastes, as contained in NSWMC Resolution No. 669.

 

The guidelines stipulate compliance with Presidential Decree No. 1586 or the Environmental Impact Statement System Law; Republic Act No. 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999; RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act; RA 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Act; and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

 

"Given the provisions of these laws, we can expect that all bases are covered in terms of solid waste management," Leones said.

 

To enable the country comply with global emissions standards, Leones said the DENR undertakes a technical cooperation project with the Japanese government on the use of advanced WTE technologies, through thermal processes that eliminate incinerators. The cities of Quezon, Cebu and Davao have been chosen as pilot sites for the project.

 

According to Leones, the DENR has also taken strides in going after local government units (LGUs), which are remiss in their duty to enforce RA 9003.

 

"We have already filed with the Office of the Ombudsman cases against 50 LGUs and evaluated 100 others for their failure to implement RA 9003," he said.

 

RA 9003 specifically mandates all, especially the local government units (LGUs), to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that would ensure the protection of public health and environment.

It directs LGUs to utilize environmentally sound methods; set targets and guidelines for solid waste avoidance and reduction; and ensure proper segregation, collection, transport and storage of solid waste; among others. 

Leones also mentioned the firm stand taken by the DENR on the return of Canada's waste shipments, which were rotting in Manila's ports.

This led the Manila regional trial court to order the return what remains of the 50 container vans of mixed garbage from Canada at the cost of the importer. Canada eventually agreed to accept the waste. 

As an offshoot of the Canadian waste issue, the DENR, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Customs have agreed to intensify collaboration and improve regulations against imported waste to prevent a repeat of the incident. ###

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