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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River cleanup project to ease flooding in Bulacan

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here in partnership with the provincial government of Bulacan and the local government of Malolos City launched recently the Bulacan River System Cleanup Project in an effort to protect communities from flooding as the onset of southwest monsoon or “habagat” takes place and in support of the cleanup and rehabilitation of the historic Manila Bay.

Paquito Moreno, executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the province-wide project will administer dredging activities in the major river systems and other tributaries in Bulacan.

"Dredging creeks is imperative to sustain the cleanup and rehabilitation efforts of Manila Bay. And through this, we can remove solid wastes at pinch point areas, and allow water to flow freely," he explained.

He said project will start in the 4.6-km Apulid creek in Longos village in Malolos where heavy siltation was observed.  

Apulid creek is one of the water tributaries in Malolos which is directly connected to the larger Sto. Niño River, a major river system that drains directly to Manila Bay.

The project will also reduce the risk of flooding in the province especially during habagat season since dredging allows the creeks and rivers to carry larger volume of water, Moreno added.

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