DENR to highlight Boracay rehab in State of the Environment Address

The ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the pollution-challenged Boracay will be among the highlights of the State of the Environment Address to be delivered by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu during Philippine Earth Day celebrations on April 22.

Cimatu is also expected to discuss the achievements and plans of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under various programs, with focus on strict enforcement of laws and regulations on clean air, clean water and solid waste management.

Philippine Earth Day celebrations will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City. This year’s theme is “Green the Cities, Green the Oceans.”

The event comes four days before the start of the temporary shutdown of Boracay to pave the way for its rehabilitation that could last for at least six months.

The Earth Day 2018 theme supports the international goal to end plastic pollution in the oceans through proper solid waste management in households, institutions and organizations. It focuses on reducing wastes from single-use plastics and to end plastic pollution.

According to the 2015 report of the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines ranks third among the highest source of plastic pollution in global waters, next to China and Indonesia.

The exponential use of plastic has led to plastic pollution which is poisoning and injuring marine life. It is also negatively affects human health, litter beaches and landscapes, and clog waterways. 

Earth Day activities will begin with a “bike parade” from Quezon City to the CCP Complex. This will be followed by welcome remarks from Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, a message from Earth Day Network Philippines president and country coordinator Isagani Serrano and the address of Secretary Cimatu. 

Stakeholders will then sign the “Commitment to Green the Cities,” and musical performances and advocacy presentations will cap the celebrations.

Other activities leading to Earth Day include the roundtable discussion dubbed “Plastic Pollution in Oceans and Possible Solutions” held on March 21; coastal cleanup at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) on April 7; and the holding of “Isang Diwa sa Pagdiriwang ng Kalikasan” or SANDIWANG Festival for the Philippine Forests held April the Arroceros Forest Park in Manila.

Earth Day Jam, a free concert featuring live performances from various Filipino artists, will be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle on April 28.

The Philippines first celebrated Earth Day in 1990 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 553.

In 2008, Proclamation 1481 declared April 22 of every year as the Philippine Earth Day. It enjoined all government agencies, local government units, and the private sector to conduct environmental activities to campaign for a clean and sustainable environment. ###

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