Paje urges public to minimize trash during Undas

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has called on Filipinos to avoid generating unnecessary waste and pollution as they troop to cemeteries to remember their departed loved ones this weekend.

“Let us turn All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day into a more meaningful and memorable experience by minimizing waste and pollution in cemeteries,” Paje said.

He warned that “small acts, whether negative or positive, when taken collectively can have such a drastic impact on the environment.”

“It takes as little as using recyclable containers to contain your food, from candies to meals and drinks, to reduce the waste that is collected or otherwise end up in our waterways,” Paje pointed out.

Citing a 2013 report by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Paje said that about a hundred truckloads of garbage were collected from various cemeteries in the nation’s capital region alone.

As a friendly reminder, Paje urged those who will troop to cemeteries to bring only enough food to avoid wastage, use fresh flowers or potted plants without plastic wrappings, and not to leave their trash behind.

The environment chief 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.

Paje likewise proposed setting up barangay brigades that would go around cemeteries and monitor littering incidents.

“Local government units should exercise political will in enforcing provisions of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. This includes penalizing a person caught littering with a fine from P300 to P1,000, or render community service,” he said.

He also provided the following tips for motorists during Undas:

• Carpool or use bigger vehicles to accommodate more family members, and lessen the number of trips to and from the cemeteries.

• Use alternate roads with less traffic, and avoid peak traffic hours.

• Park a good distance from the cemetery to lessen congestion, and walk the rest of the way. Use bicycles, if possible.

• Make sure that vehicles are well-maintained prior to the trip. Avail of free tune-up services offered by oil companies during the holidays.###  




Int’l exhibit showcases multisectoral efforts to conserve PH biodiversity

The Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP), a multisectoral effort that aims to bring people together to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity, has recently been featured in an international exhibition during the 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) or COP 12 held in South Korea.

The exhibit – which showcased the biodiversity conservation initiatives of close to a hundred participants from national and local government, international groups, non-government organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and private sector of different countries – was displayed at the Alpensia Convention Center in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, from October 6 to 17.

BPP’s efforts in mainstreaming biodiversity in the local land use, and development planning and biodiversity-friendly enterprises were highlighted at the show.

BPP is a six-year program being implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project works with national government agencies, NGOs and local government units (LGUs) in eight demonstration sites in critical eco-regions in the country.

BMB Director Theresa Mundita Lim said the BPP’s participation was in line with the conference theme, “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.”

“We deemed this a timely and relevant opportunity for BPP and the bureau’s undertakings and accomplishments on partnerships for landscape-level biodiversity management towards sustainable conservation to be underlined and shared to other countries,” Lim said.

The exhibit presented the country’s experience and innovations in promoting sustainable biodiversity conservation to support the national goal of inclusive socio-economic growth as demonstrated in eight key biodiversity areas (KBAs), namely: Northeast Cagayan KBA; Quirino Protected Landscape; Mt. Siburan KBA in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro; Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape in Palawan; Central Panay Mountains KBA in the provinces of Iloilo, Antique, Capiz and Aklan; Northern Negros Natural Park in Negros Occidental; Lake Mainit KBA in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte; and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental.

The exhibit also highlighted the BPP’s experience and good practices in pioneering the process of mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into the land use plans and development agenda of local government units (LGUs).

In collaboration with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the BPP provides assistance to LGUs in integrating biodiversity in their respective Comprehensive Land Use Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans.

During the exhibit, a symbolic “Pledge for Biodiversity” was put up in the BPP booth, where visitors are encouraged to sign up to commit themselves to a future for the conservation of biological diversity. Among those who signed up and visited the booth were no less than UNCBD Executive Director Braulio de Souza Dias, and South Korean Environment Minister and concurrent COP 12 president Yoon Seong-kyu. #  




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