Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on the government, business sector and other stakeholders to work together to find the best solutions to plastic pollution, which has become one of the most serious threats to the health of oceans and a major hazard to marine biodiversity.

DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Ricardo Calderon said that a stronger public-private partnership would help translate political and corporate commitment to address plastic pollution into tangible strategies and investible action plans.

“We urge everyone to join the pledge for our environment; a pledge that will institutionalize our collective and collaborative action towards addressing the issue of marine debris,” Calderon said at the culmination of the Month of the Ocean celebration held recentlyat The Peninsula Manila, with the theme “Free the Seas from Marine Debris.”

Calderon’s statement was in line with Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’sprior call to the Filipinos to “cut down on the use of plastics that end up in the ocean and pose a threat to marine life.”

“The task of reversing this issue is as big and wide as the ocean, but small actions can make a huge difference,” Cimatu said.

A study conducted by the Ocean Conservancy, a US-based environmental advocacy group, revealed that eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year on top of the 150 million tons of plastic that already circulate in the ocean, contributing to loss of species and the contamination of the food chain.

Relatedly, Calderon said that marine plastic pollution is one of the latest and most alarming issues the world is facing with the Philippines as one of the major contributors to global problem, primarily due to its so-called “sachet economy” where companies are selling products in single-used plastic sachets.

While it was easy to resort to banning plastic sachets, Calderon noted that there are “economic implications” to such move that the stakeholders, particularly the government and businesses, should prepare for.

“As one of the fastest developing countries in the world, with more than 6.6 percent in terms of world trade, one of the drivers of economic growth is basically the sachet economy, the 3-in-1 packages, including the plastic straw, which is basically part of development,” he pointed out.

According to Calderon, committing to act on the issue of marine debris will also help prevent other sea animals from ingesting plastic. Recently, a baby rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) rescued in Palawan died after it had difficulty digesting when fed by rescuers in an attempt to save it. A tightly-packed garbage bag was later found stuck in its stomach which prevented the food to pass through.

Billions of plastic sachets are sold each year to get small quantities of personal care and food products, such as shampoo and soy sauce, to people mostly in emerging markets. These sachets are not recycled and many end up polluting the ocean.

This crisis urgently demands innovators, industry and governments to develop systemic solutions that prevent plastic from becoming waste in the first place.

Calderon expressed hope stakeholders would eventually “come up with a direction, a way forward on how we can address this problem without sacrificing development.” ###

Nanawagan ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa gobyerno, business sector at iba pang stakeholders na makipagtulungan sa kanilang ahensiya upang mabigyang solusyon ang problema sa plastic pollution na nagiging dahilan ng pagkasira ng karagatan at marine biodiversity.

Ayon kay DENR Assistant Secretary at concurrent Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Ricardo Calderon, sa pamamagitan ng pinalakas na public-private partnership ay mapadadali ang ugnayan ng gobyerno at business sector para mabigyan ng mabilisang solusyon ang problema sa plastic pollution.

“We urge everyone to join the pledge for our environment; a pledge that will institutionalize our collective and collaborative action towards addressing the issue of marine debris,” sabi pa ni Calderon sa ginanap na culminating program ng Month of the Ocean na may temang “Free the Seas from Marine Debris” na idinaos sa The Peninsula Manila.

Ang pahayag na ito ni Calderon ay base narin sa panawagan ni Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu sa mga Filipino na bawasan ang paggamit ng plastic na napupunta sa mga karagatan na nagiging banta sa marine life.

“The task of reversing this issue is as big and wide as the ocean, but small actions can make a huge difference,” sabi pa ni Cimatu.

Base sa isinagawang pag-aaral ng Ocean Conservancy na isang US-based environment advocacy group, lumalabas na walong milyong tonelada ng plastic ang napupunta sa karagatan kada taon na dumaragdag pa sa 150 milyong tonelada na nagpapaikot-ikot lamang sa mga baybayin at nagiging dahilan sa pagkaubos ng mga species at pagkakaroon ng kontaminasyon ng kanilang mga kinakain.

Ayon kay Calderon, ang marine plastic pollution ay isasa alarming issue nakinahaharap ngayon ng buong mundo at ang Pilipinas ang isa sa major contributors sa problemang ito ng mundo dahil sa tinatawag na “sachet economy” kung saan ang mga kumpanya ay nagbebenta ng mga produkto na nakalagay sa single-used plastic sachet.

Bagama’t medaling ipagbawal ang paggamit ng plastic sachet, sinabi ni Calderon na malaki ang magiging epekto nito sa ating ekonomiya kaya’t ito ang dapat na paghandaan ng mga stakeholders particular na ng gobyerno at ng mga negosyante.

“As one of the fastest developing countries in the world, with more than 6.6 percent in terms of world trade, one of the drivers of economic growth is basically the sachet economy, the 3-in-1 packages, including the plastic straw, which is basically part of development,” pagdidiin pa nito.

Aniya, ang pagtulong sa pagbibigay ng solusyon sa problemang ito ay isang paraan upang matulungan ang mga sea animals na makaiwas na makakain ng plastic. Kamakailan ay isang rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) ang namatay sa Palawan matapos makakain ng garbage bag.

Umaabot sa bilyong plastic sachet ang naibebenta kada taon mula sa personal care at food products tulad ng shampoo at soy sauce. Ang mga sachet na ito ay hindi naire-recycle kaya’t nakapagbibigay ito ng polusyon sa dagat.

Umaasa pa si Calderon na makahanap na paraan ang mga stakeholders na makapagbibigay ng solusyon sa problemang ito nang hindi naaapektuhan ang ating pag-unlad. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), on Thursday launched a music album featuring songs about nature to help inspire and promote environmental awareness and change.

The launch of KANTALIKASAN capped the month-long celebration of the Philippine Environment Month this June, with the theme “Beat Air Pollution.” This year’s celebration also paid tribute to the so-called “Battle for Manila Bay,” an ongoing effort to restore the heavily polluted water body to its former glory.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu expressed high hopes that the music album would serve its purpose of encouraging more people to care for the environment even as he congratulated the producers, composers and others who have taken part in the undertaking.

“We are optimistic that through this medium, we can deliver the message across that all Filipinos should be empowered to take care of our environment and natural resources,” Cimatu said.

The DENR chief also urged everyone to “not just listen to the songs, but also share and apply the message behind each song—that we only have one life to live, one planet to love, and many chances to make a difference for our environment and natural resources.”

Featured in the album are the winning entries in the KANTALIKASAN Environmental Song Writing Competition organized by the EMB-Central Office last year.

Interpreted by the DENR’s KANTALIKASAN Environmental Singing Ambassadors, all songs are original compositions focusing on environmental protection, conservation and preservation. The songs are in various genres, such as pop, ballad and classical.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan said the album was produced by the EMB’s Environmental Education and Information Division, in collaboration with Ivory Music and Video and Studio Z Audio Productions and Recording.

The album features environmental songs “Kalikasan at Pag-ibig” composed by KANTALIKASAN champion Oliver Narag; “Kayamanan” by Bejay Fabia; “Para sa mga Musmos pang Darating” by Rochelle Anne Rodriguez; and “Liliwanag Din ang Ating Mundo” by Arnold Ramos.

Other songs in the album are “Kalikasan ay Kayamanan,” “Kalikasan,” “Himig ng Inang Kalikasan,” “Katapusan,” “Kalikasan ay Kalakasan,” and “Tayo nang Gumising.”

The album is featured in streaming sites Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer and YouTube.

The album launch was held at SM City-Novaliches in Quezon City. #

 

After ordering the closure of the Irisan dumpsite, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now eyeing the rehabilitation of Baguio City’s Balili River, which coliform level is even worse than that of the Manila Bay.

The DENR turned its sights on the Balili River after its officials from the central office in Quezon City led by Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda inspected the city’s 33-year-old Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) as part of the impending rehabilitation of the nation’s summer capital.

Antiporda’s group was alarmed after finding out that the Balili River, to which the treated waters of the STP drains, has severely deteriorated.

Data from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau in the Cordillera Administrative Region (EMB-CAR) showed that the river’s fecal coliform level was at 1.6 trillion most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100ml).

“This is far worse than Manila Bay which holds a record of 35 million mpn/100ml,” Antiporda pointed out.

As per DENR Administrative Order 2016-08, the acceptable fecal coliform level for Class A rivers, such as the Balili River, is only 4 mpn/100ml.

Meanwhile, the DENR—through the EMB-CAR—is constantly monitoring the renovations at the STP to make sure it would continue to meet its demands.

The STP, which started operating in 1986 is designed to treat 8,500 cubic meters (cu.m) per day. At present, the facility treats 6,500 cbm/day and peaks up to 12,000 cu.m/day during the rainy season.

In October 2018, the DENR approved a compliance action plan (CAP) for the STP pursuant to DAO 2016-08. The CAP was revised and approved last April, with validity until December 2022.

Earlier, the DENR ordered the temporary closure of Irisan dumpsite after finding out during a surprise inspection made by Antiporda’s team that it was operating as an open dumpsite, which is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Antiporda and other DENR officials also went around Camp 7 to check on a number of pig pens and discovered that animal wastes were being discharged directly into waterways.

Incoming Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who was also present during the inspection, assured Antiporda’s group that immediate measures will be implemented, such as building a common facility for hog raisers in a more suitable place, probably in the nearby municipality of Tuba.

At the same time, Antiporda said the DENR will make sure that the three-meter easement along waterways will be strictly enforced once the much-anticipated rehabilitation of Baguio City has started.

“This would be a necessary deterrent to possible dumping of household waste along rivers that add up to their contamination,” Antiporda stressed.

For his part, DENR-CAR Regional Executive Director Ralph C. Pablo sought the cooperation of the residents in the restoration of Balili River.

He cited as example the Lamut River in Ifugao province, which won the first prize and named cleanest river in the country during the recently concluded R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Award organized by the DENR.

R.I.V.E.Rs stands for Recognizing Individuals/Institutions towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the temporary closure of an open dumpsite in Baguio City, which is next on the government’s list of tourist destinations to undergo rehabilitation, after Boracay and Manila Bay.

The temporary closure order came after DENR officials led by Undersecretary for Solid Waste and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda made a surprise inspection of Irisan dumpsite on June 26 and found out that its manner of operations was in violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“It was an open dumpsite before; it remains an open dumpsite up to now,” Antiporda said, referring to the Irisan dumpsite which in 2012 was already ordered closed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission pursuant to a writ of kalikasan issued by the Supreme Court.

Establishment and maintenance of an open dumpsite is strictly prohibited under RA 9003.

The Irisan dumpsite continued to process 30 tons of biodegradable waste out of the city’s 190 tons of average daily trash, despite a high court directive for the city government to turn the area into an eco-park and the DENR—through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)—to monitor the rehabilitation.

Antiporda and other DENR officials from the central office in Quezon City were in Baguio City to inspect problematic areas in the mountain metropolis in line with its impending rehabilitation.

Immediately after the surprise inspection, Antiporda ordered the EMB regional office in the Cordillera Administrative Region to issue a cease and desist order to the Baguio City government pending its explanation on its failure to comply with the writ of kalikasan and presentation of a sound rehabilitation plan.

Antiporda, however, clarified the closure of Irisan dumpsite would just be temporary “so as not to create chaos and a garbage crisis in the city.”

The country’s solid waste czar also suggested that the Baguio City government find other locations to dump their garbage, such as the garbage facilities in Dagupan City or Metro Clark.

Antiporda expressed confidence that the garbage problem in the nation’s summer capital can be resolved with the collaborative effort of the community, the local government units and the DENR.

He also assured the public that the DENR is always willing to provide technical assistance to the city government should it seek help on solving its garbage woes.

Aside from the Irisan dumpsite, Antiporda’s team also conducted an ocular inspection at the Dontogan Transfer Station and Bued River.

Antiporda was joined in Baguio City by Undersecretary for Field Operations and Supervising Undersecretary for the EMB Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Northern Luzon Joselin Marcus E. Fragada, Forest Management Bureau Director NonitoM. Tamayo, and Administrative Service OIC-Director Rabindranath P. Quilala.###