Press Releases

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is targeting in 2021 to provide each of the 178 local government units (LGUs) within the Manila Bay region with industrial-grade shredder-composter machines to help them comply with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns Benny D. Antiporda disclosed this during the turnover of the first batch of shredder-composter equipment to Pampanga LGUs—San Fernando City and the towns of Apalit, Candaba, Guagua and Magalang.

The Manila Bay region is comprised of the National Capital Region and eight provinces from Regions III and IV-A, namely, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite.

During the recent turnover ceremony held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City, Antiporda said the agency will continue to provide LGUs the necessary support to ensure their compliance with RA 9003.

“Sad to say, compliance is slow particularly where LGUs lack the means for full and prompt compliance,” Antiporda lamented.

“This is where the DENR steps in, in line with its mandate to provide technical assistance and other capability-building assistance to LGUs,” he added.

A shredder-composter set includes a brand new composter that can process one ton of compost material within 24 hours, and a brand new shredder with the capacity to process two tons of organic waste per day.

The event was keynoted by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. It was highlighted by the signing of the project’s Memorandum of Agreement between the DENR and the LGUs represented by their respective local executives.

Citing statistics from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, Antiporda said around 52 percent of the municipal wastes in the country is biodegradable.

Providing LGUs with the equipment, he said, will not only reduce the amount of waste that end up in sanitary landfills but will also transform the diverted wastes into assets as organic fertilizer, which is valuable to agriculture and horticulture.

“Transportation na lang po ang gagastusin nila dito,” Antiporda added, referring to the cost for the farmers availing of the organic fertilizers from the equipment.

Antiporda disclosed that the provision of the equipment will also help increase the collection of recyclable materials, which account for some 28 percent of the country’s municipal wastes.

The difficulty in recovering recyclable materials has been largely blamed to contamination by biodegradable materials like food wastes. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recorded a substantial reduction in air pollution levels in the first day of 2021 in Metro Manila by as much as 59 percent compared to pollution levels recorded last year.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu cited the support of Metro Manila local executives and residents to the government’s effective implementation of Executive Order 28 which limits the use of firecrackers to “community fireworks display” which has been in effect since 2017.

An average concentration of 87 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) of Particulate Matter (PM 10) was obtained by DENR-Environmental Management based on the measured data between 12 midnight of December 31, 2020 to January 1, 2021 from its six air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) in Caloocan, Marikina, Navotas, Pasig, Parañaque and Taguig cities.

Last year, the six AQMS yielded an average of 213 ug/Ncm, thereby accounting for a 59-average percent drop compared to its New Year’s Eve (NYE) data in January 1, 2020

“This attests to the correctness of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s interest to put a nationwide total ban on firecrackers which I believe clearly speaks not only for the President’s strong policy agenda for health and safety, but for sound environmental governance as well,” Cimatu said.

The highest NYE percentage drop recorded are the stations in Naval St., Navotas City with 99 percent from 209 to 1.34 ug/Ncm; Oranbo, Pasig City, 95 percent (130 to 7 ug/Ncm); Bicutan, Taguig City, 78 percent (355 to 79 ug/Ncm); Marikina Justice Hall open compound, Marikina City, 34 percent (189 to 124 ug/Ncm); Caloocan City Hall Annex, Caloocan City, 29 percent (332 to 235 ug/Ncm);

Only the station in Don Bosco Barangay Hall Compound, Paranaque City showed a 21-percent increase from 62 to 75 ug/Ncm.

PM10 in firecrackers are mainly coming from residuals of the explosive powders wrapped in paper which consists of a mixture of sulfur (S), carbon (C), and potassium nitrate (saltpeter, KNO3) and other fine minerals which contains heavy metals. The short-term limit for PM10 is 150 ug/Ncm under the National Ambient Air Quality Guideline Value (NAAQGV) of Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act.

Likewise, the EMB report noted that “the NYE 2021 have significantly lower concentrations of PM2.5 compared to the NYE 2020,” particularly for its station at the Muntinlupa Bilibid open ground in Muntinlupa City which posted a maximum concentration of 12 ug/Ncm between 12 midnight to 2 AM of January 1, 2021. The reading accounts for a 43-percent drop from 22 ug/Ncm obtained for the same period in last year.

The report however noted its Manila City Station measured a high of 93.5 ug/Ncm around 1 AM of January 1, 2021 from a reading of 40.9 ug/Ncm at 11 pm of December 31, 2020. The short-term limit for PM2.5 is 35 ug/Ncm under the NAAQGV of DENR Administrative Order 2020-14 dated Oct. 21, 2020.

These are attributed to “the strict measures being implemented” by Metro Manila Mayors under Metro Manila Development Authority Resolution No. 20-17 "Prohibiting Individual and Household Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices During General Community Quarantine".

Compared to PM10, PM2.5 pollutants are finer particles usually emitted by vehicles and burning plants.

These particles can reach the lungs when inhaled, leading to respiratory and circulatory diseases, including brain damage and cancer. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the Manila City government, is bringing the historic nilad mangrove trees back in Manila Bay through a project in support of its rehabilitation.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Tuesday (Dec. 29) led the planting of nilad mangrove trees around the BASECO lagoon to kick off the “Nilad for Maynila” project of the DENR’s research arm, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB).

The project aims to regrow along the Manila Bay shores the nilad mangrove plant, after which the country’s capital city was named.

"Nowadays, we can hardly find nilad growing in this place.  We lost nilad in Manila primarily because of massive urbanization," Cimatu said.

In the olden times, Cimatu said, the shores of Manila Bay were lined up with lush nilad trees, thus Manila or Maynila means “may nilad” or “there is nilad.”

"This is what we hope to relive in Manila to allow this generation and the future ones to also experience the beauty and bounty of the bay,” the DENR chief pointed out.

Mangrove species such as nilad has the capacity to sequester carbon three to five times more compared to forests in the mountains.  During strong typhoons, an area with bountiful mangrove trees can protect coastal communities against storm surges as these will act as buffer.

"This is our new project cum study on the use of nilad mangrove in re-greening the coast of the city of Manila," said ERDB Director Henry Adornado.  “It is also the ERDB's contribution and complementary activity to the ongoing Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts of the DENR."

According to Adornado, the project aims to revert nilad to where it used to thrive.  Mangroves, he added, will also help in combating air pollution, provide defense against waves thereby increasing community resilience.

Around 150 planting materials consisting of earth-balled nilad from Quezon province, and its close associate, tawalis and the endangered gapas-gapas, were planted around the lagoon.

"We used earth-balled materials because these have higher survival rate compared to seedlings which grow in nurseries," said Adornado.

Aside from BASECO, ERDB has identified other possible planting sites for the nilad.  These are the areas behind the sewage treatment facility in Roxas Boulevard and H20 Hotel.

Also present at the project launch were DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones, Manila City Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna Pangan representing Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Manila Department of Public Services Director Kenneth Amurao, and Barangay 649, Zone 68 Chair Diana Espinosa. ###

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has paid tribute to the frontliners of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who are continuously serving the public amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“My heartfelt appreciation goes to our frontliners who painstakingly continued to physically report for work under tremendous stress and danger despite knowing that they are exposing themselves to the threats of the pandemic,” Cimatu said in his year-end message to the DENR community.

As in any other organization, Cimatu said COVID-19 has changed the way people work at the DENR with work-from-home and skeleton workforce becoming the new norms.

Cimatu disclosed that a total of 50 DENR “skeleton” workers across the country have been infected with COVID-19 and two forestry officers were killed in the line of duty since the start of the lockdown in March.

Despite the health threats posed by COVID-19 and other hazards at work, Cimatu said the DENR workers still proved they could “measure up to the challenges, if not exceed them.”

The DENR chief said he knew how it feels to be a frontliner having been assigned by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to oversee government efforts to contain the COVID-19 infections in Cebu City last June.

“I was at the front seat of saving human lives and I realized that my mission to arrest the spread of COVID infection in Cebu was no different from the task our people at the DENR are faced with, especially our frontliners.” Cimatu said.

While he was glad that the DENR recorded zero casualty from COVID-19, Cimatu lamented the deaths of two forest protection officers, who were part of the agency’s pandemic skeleton workforce.

He hailed the slain DENR workers as “heroic examples of those who had responded to and exceeded the challenges posed by the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr. called on DENR workers “to make a difference no matter how simple they were.”

Adobo added that the pandemic has encouraged every one in the DENR to “serve as light for each other at all times.”

So far, the DENR Central Office in Quezon City had been put on two complete lockdowns on June 25 and from July 9 to 22 immediately after confirmation of infection among 11 of its skeleton workforce. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is targeting to establish by 2022 around 300 more sanitary landfills (SLFs) nationwide through a public-private partnership in a bid to further improve the country’s management of solid waste.

“Ambitious as it may seem to be as a target, but we shall aim to establish 300 SLFs by the end of 2022,” said DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

Antiporda noted that SLF remains the primary long-term method of solid waste disposal allowed under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The DENR official made the statement during the hybrid consultation meeting with SLF operators, which combined face-to-face and teleconferencing, held last December 28.

It was the second of a series of meetings, which Antiporda said was the first time in the history of the DENR that the SLF operators were gathered together to ensure their commitment to helping LGUs and the national government address the challenges of solid waste management.

A total of 21 SLF operators were present during the meeting, either personal or via Zoom. The meeting was aimed at closer collaboration among SLF operators, LGUs and the DENR, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission, where Antiporda sits as alternate of Environment Secretary and NSWMC Chair Roy A. Cimatu.

Among those in attendance were representatives from Phileco, Tamagan SLF of Lepanto Consolidated Company, WasteCon Inc., Urdaneta Solid Waste Management, Cagayan Economic Zone Sanitary Landfill, Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation, Mega Pacific Landfill Resource Services Corp., and IPM Holdings.

Also present were representatives from Integrated Solid Waste Management Inc., Greenleap Sanitary Landfill/New Sanitary Landfill, SB Hain Enterprise/Severino B. Hain, Pilotage Trading and Construction Inc., TAYSAN SLF, Gen Tech SLF, JORMS Trading Corporation, Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, Iwa Besu Solid Waste Processing Facility project/Iwa Besu Corp., Eco’s Sanitary Landfill and Waste Management Corp., San Rafael Moreno SLF, ARN Central Waste Management Inc., and Asian Energy Systems Inc.

There are currently 189 SLFs in operation servicing 399 LGUs across the country.

However, Antiporda lamented that the number of SLFs remains small 20 years after RA 9003 took effect.

During the consultation meeting, Antiporda called on the SLF operators to look into the viability of offering their facilities to LGUs with illegal dumpsites in anticipation of an aggressive campaign by the DENR to close these down starting January 2021.

The first meeting was held on December 17 with seven SLF operators present, namely: International Solid Waste Integrated Management Specialist Inc., Iwa Besu Corp., IPM Holdings, Wastecon Inc., Phil Ecology Systems Corp., S.B. Hain Enterprises and General Services Inc., and Urdaneta Solid Waste Management.

In that meeting, Antiporda urged SLF operators to “set aside whatever differences they have and close ranks as an association or coalition.”

“This is the first time operators will unite and have a voice when engaging the DENR and the public sector in discussions geared towards resolving challenges faced by the solid waste management sector,” Antiporda said.

The next meeting will be held in January 2021. ###