Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is once again urging the public to be conscious of their carbon footprint as they engage is various activities this summer season.
The season also marks the Holy Week break, when Filipinos are able to spend more time with their families and loved ones whether in the provinces or taking vacation trips elsewhere.
“Filipinos, largely Christians by religion, traditionally use this time to atone for their sins. Religious beliefs aside, let us be sorry about our actions that may have contributed to the degradation of our environment. And since reparation comes with atonement, let us then use the time to care for and cultivate God’s creation to make up for our ‘sins’,” he said.
Paje also said that the summer vacation is “a good time to encourage students to put science to work, especially those that relate to the care of the environment.”
In Friday’s First Consultative Meeting on the National Greening Program (NGP), the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education have committed to mobilize students in various activities of NGP such as tree planting, seedling production and waste segregation at source. For this, Paje, who is a forester by profession, is urging everyone, especially the students, to start collecting seeds of fruits they consume, and may even try to plant them in pots or empty cans and nurture them till they are ready for transplanting comes the rainy season.
The NGP, which the DENR is mandated to lead the implementation, along with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform, aims to plant a billion and a half trees in 1.5 million hectares over a six-year period.
For Holy Week and the rest of the summer vacation, the environment chief gives the following pointers to reduce one’s carbon footprint:
· Motorists should make sure their vehicles are well-maintained to be more fuel-efficient and thus minimize air pollution, which is usually aggravated by the dry weather. Better yet, get involved in hiking or biking activities that promote better human and environmental health.
· Practice solid waste management by recycling or reducing waste, as well as bringing reusable bags and containers when going to markets or supermarkets. Dispose of garbage properly, and avoid throwing litter especially in beaches, rivers and other water bodies. Also minimize the use of plastic bags.
· Encourage neighbors to engage in cleaning up surroundings like declogging of storm drainage in preparation for the rainy season.
· Avoid wasteful consumption of resources especially paper, water and electricity.
The DENR secretary also reminded the vacationers to take care in disturbing the conditions of flora and fauna especially in eco-tourism spots. “Environmentalists believe in and practice the saying, ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.’ This is what we need to observe to make sure that future generations will still enjoy what we are enjoying now,” said Paje. Ayda Zoleta, PAO-DENR