DENR holds "refill revolution" to save historic Manila Bay

More than 500 residents of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga together with government employees celebrated and joined the annual Manila Bay day in a "Refill Revolution" event to promote the economical way of reusing and recycling plastic materials and to save the historic Manila Bay from plastic pollution.

Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here, stressed that the problem of plastic pollution is becoming worse every day, negatively affecting the natural environment and harming plants, wildlife and even the entire human population.

“We have to wage war on plastic. We need to fight plastic pollution and end it once and for all before it’s too late,” Moreno said, adding that the Refill Revolution is one of DENR’s solutions to fight the global problem of plastic.

Citing statistics, Moreno said that last year’s coastal cleanup around the globe reveals that plastic bottles are the second most item collected with more than 1.5 million bottles collected in a single cleanup day. These were collected in the oceans and along the beach while there are also 3 million plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straw, stirrers, and other plastic bags, he added.

"Now, what is in common with these items? They are made of plastic," he stressed.

This refilling event, Moreno noted, is an advocacy to cut back on plastic production, consumption, and packaging.

Meanwhile, Lormelyn Claudio, regional director of DENR- Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said the series of refilling event, which is now on its fourth leg, the first three of which transpired in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan provinces, aimed to spark behavioral change on turning wastes as new resources.

“We need to change our attitude to resolve plastic pollution. Our lifestyle and behavior play a crucial role in solving this problem,” Claudio added.

Local residents, who participated in the event organized by EMB and DENR-3 Manila Bay Coordinating Office, were able to refill their clean and reusable bottles, containers and eco bags with condiments, toiletries, and other household essentials for half of their actual retail prices in supermarkets.

Participating companies include HAHSY Industries Inc., Froneri (formerly Nestle), Soliman EC, and Jollibee Foods Corp.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court issued a writ of continuing mandamus on December 18, 2008, to 14 government agencies including the DENR in the clean up of Manila Bay recognizing the right of every Filipino citizen to a balanced and healthful ecology.

Manila Bay day is celebrated every 18th day of December of each year to raise public awareness and call to action on the importance and protection of Manila Bay.

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Environment officials urge the public to protect wetlands

Environment officials here urged the public to protect and save wetlands, particularly the 32,000-hectare Candaba Swamp in Pampanga, as the population and number of species of migratory birds seen in the area continue to decline.

Minerva Martinez, conservation and development chief of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office said that last year population of migratory birds was only numbered to 1,439 with 30 species based on the Asian Water Bird’s Census conducted by the DENR.

“This number was the lowest recorded rate since 2009. The prolonged dry seasons may have affected the Candaba swamp resulting to low food supply which also eventually affected the water birds that depend on this habitat for sustenance,” she explained.

She said that climate change and land conversion may have affected the ecosystem functioning of this wetland and considered as a continuing threat to our water birds.   

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