With parties here and there, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging the public to refrain from using plastic utensils and polysterene food containers, more popularly known as styrofoam, to reduce the volume of holiday garbage.

At the same time, Paje urged all employees of the DENR nationwide to set an example by using re-usable utensils and food containers.

“There is no stopping us in merry-making this holiday season. Christmas will always be the most awaited event in our Christian life, and food is always one of the most important ingredients that make gatherings enjoyable,” However, Paje urged the people to also put serious thought on the impact of their activities to the environment and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

“There are definitely a thousand ways that we could do to help Mother Earth recover from its ailing health -- from tree growing and gardening to using recyclable bags to wrap our gifts, to car pooling to save gas, to not lighting a fireworks this coming New Year so as not to add to air pollution,” Paje stressed.

In a memorandum to all officials and employees, heads of the DENR union, security group and catering services, DENR Assistant Secretary Corazon Davis noted that the implementation of the “no plastic and styrofoam” policy in the department was very encouraging that she reiterated its sustained enforcement “for the good of the environment and the health of our people”.

The regulated use of plastic and styrofoam was initially carried out in the DENR central office in line with its “Green Multiplier” program, where employees are made to “walk the talk” in waste segregation, energy conservation, composting and other “green” practices not only in their offices but also in their homes and communities.

Under the order, Davis tasked the security guards not to allow caterers to deliver food in styrofoam containers inside DENR offices. She also instructed the employees’ union and cooperative and other employee organizations not to permit owners of food stalls in the Livelihood/Food Center to use thin plastic bags and encouraged them instead to use brown bags or other biodegradable alternatives like banana leaves.

Relative to this, the DENR union, K-4, has provided its members with re-usable plastic food containers which they use when buying food in food stalls within the department’s premises, thus, reducing the use of thin plastic bags.