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Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is encouraging all Filipinos to turn the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to form earth-friendly habits that will help save the environment.

“Save water, use environment-friendly materials to minimize trash and regulate the use of energy during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ),” said Cimatu.

Cimatu urged households to use water responsibly and avoid wastage especially with the expected increase in consumption because of frequent handwashing and use of drinking water.

The Health Department has repeatedly reminded the public that frequent and proper hand washing as well as drinking plenty of water are effective means to combat the novel coronavirus.

“Though we are assured of enough water supply in the summer season and throughout the year, we do not want it to be depleted quickly given the current situation,” Cimatu said

On March 12, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), increased the water allocation of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) from 42 cubic meters per second to its normal allocation of 46 cubic meters per second. This is to ensure a steady water supply for Metro Manila given the importance of water in undertaking preventive measures against COVID-19. The water is sourced from Angat Dam.

On the other hand, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said minimizing trash and segregating used personal protective equipment (PPE) will substantially help garbage collectors in the collection and disposal of solid waste.

“If people minimize their waste, we prevent the accumulation of trash that need to be collected and sanitized by our already compromised garbage collectors and haulers,” said Antiporda.

Earlier, Antiporda advised garbage collectors to use disinfectant solution on collected waste before these are brought to disposal sites, and to disinfect trucks after each collection.

The DENR is closely coordinating with local government units and the Department of Interior and Local Government to intensify garbage collection and ensure proper waste disposal.

Moreover, following simple energy saving tips can reduce power consumption and conserve energy. Consuming less power decreases toxic fumes like carbon and emissions from power plants. This in turn, helps abate global warming and protects the ecosystems.

“We hope that after the 30-day quarantine period, people will have formed their earth-friendly habits and will commit to them. Only then will real behavior change, that will impact the environment, happen. Only then will people finally realize the urgency of saving the only planet we have,” Cimatu said. ###