15M Filipinos to switch off lights on Earth Hour

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IT'S GOING to be a Black Saturday, literally, on March 29 as more than 15 million Filipinos are expected to “turn their lights off” for an hour, from 8:30-9:30 PM, in support of this year’s observance of Earth Hour, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced yesterday.

This is the country’s contribution to the global effort of mitigating the impacts of global warming and climate change, explained Francisco Milla, Jr. of the regional DENR office in Central Luzon.

He said an estimated 15 million Filipinos will join the seven billion people from 154 countries and 1,000 cities and towns around the globe who are expected to join this massive “lights off” campaign to save on electricity, cut down greenhouse gas emission, and send a strong message around the world that every simple act of energy conservation can make a big difference.

Studies showed that the country expects to save at least 738 megawatts of power during the one-hour lights off period, equivalent to cutting down roughly 508 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Records from the World Wide Fund showed that each Filipino emits about 0.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, and that each kilowatt hour of electricity consumed is equivalent to 0.50 kilograms of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

In Central Luzon alone, each of the 800,000 registered vehicles pumps into the atmosphere at least 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide per liter of gasoline or 2.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide per liter of diesel.

Milla said the global call for energy conservation measures is led by the Washington-based environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature in cooperation with the Department of Energy, the Green Army Philippines Network, and the SWITCH movement.

This year’s Earth Hour ambassador is the Marvel superhero “Spider-Man” who epitomizes the power of the individual, inspiring fans to become superheroes for the planet, according to the Earth Hour official website.

The Philippines earned the distinction of being “Earth Hour Hero Country” by consistently registering the most number of participating towns and cities since it first joined the event in 2009.

Earth hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a “lights-off” event with 2.2 million. Since then, it has grown to engage more than 7,000 towns and cities worldwide.