Archive for January, 2010


January 29, 2010

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza is encouraging the public to go “green” this holiday season.

Lito Atienza Planting Trees

DENR Secretary Lito Atienza Planting Trees



“With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, what better way to spend the holiday but with our family and friends. But in the midst of our celebrations, let us not forget the main reason of our rejoicing – our savior Jesus. Christmas symbolizes God’s love for mankind by the incarnation of Jesus Christ and saving the world from sins,” Lito Atienza said.

Included in God’s noblest love for mankind, Lito Atienza continued, is His provision of this habitable earth and everything in it for humanity to enjoy. In turn, however, Atienza stressed man’s duty to keep the earth livable by keeping the environment healthy and clean.

He said that enjoying the holidays need not be wasteful and garbage-laden. “People must make it a habit to practice the 3R’s — reduce, re-use and recycle. Putting this practice every day means not only good housekeeping for the Earth’s resources but saving humanity from the impact of climate change.”

Atienza offered the following tips to go “green” these holidays:

1. Minimize the use of gift wrappers.
Since gift-giving is a tradition that Filipinos continue to observe whatever the circumstances they’re into, it is important to keep our gift wrapping to the minimum. “Lavish wrapping is no longer “in” as it consumes a lot of our natural resources, such as the trees, from which we make paper and other trimmings. It also generates garbage,” Atienza said.

“Better still,” he said, “why not give gifts that need no wrapping at all,” citing things that one can do for their loved ones while at home for the holidays, like cooking for them, cleaning the house, especially of discards and recyclable materials, attending the garden, etc. . “We can add some environmental advocacy by re-echoing the practice of waste segregation, and giving them bonus with the little money that comes from selling the recyclables.”

2. Recycle or re-use boxes or gift wrappers.

“What’s important is the thought that we are giving to others. Christmas is giving and sharing of ourselves because of our love for God who first gave us His eternal love, and Mother Earth,” he added.

3. Promote the use of washable and re-usable food containers, plates, forks and spoons, etc.

With the inevitable need for food containers for parties and get-togethers, it is wiser to use washable food containers and other utensils for small family reunions. For big parties, don’t just throw discards as these can be used later, such as unused paper plates, washable plastic spoon and fork. Tin cans for soft drinks are also recyclable.

4. Discourage the use of styrofoam and other non-biodegradable food
containers. Instead, he is encouraging the use of banana leaves and other natural products which are both earth-friendly and non-toxic.

5. Give unspoiled food wastes to pets or turn them into compost for the garden lovers.

6. Start an advocacy campaign about solid waste management, particularly waste segregation at source, during family or school reunions which will eventually have a snowball effect.

Atienza said it is important that people are informed of the magnitude of the garbage problem facing not only Metro Manila but all other urban centers in the country.

DENR records showed that about 6,700 tons of garbage are being generated in the national capital region every day but only approximately 10% are being recycled or composted. The remaining 90% goes straight to dump sites, rivers, streets and backyards.

“From the statistics, and from what we saw after the onslaught of typhoon “Ondoy” we can say that we are already a country of garbage. If we do not start being more responsible now with our own garbage, there is no way we could prevent being flooded every time it rains,” Atienza said.

For the New Year, Lito Atienza is encouraging the public to refrain from lighting fire crackers as these are dangerous not only to public health but also to the environment.

“Fire crackers emit toxic substances that could trigger asthma, allergy and other illnesses among vulnerable sectors of our society, such as our children and the elders,” Atienza said.

At the same time, the fumes add up to the pollution load of Metro Manila’s sky, which to this day, according to him, remains dirty.

“While the past years saw an improving air quality in Metro Manila, it is not yet ideal. We still have to do more, and one way where everyone can share in the effort is to refrain from lighting a fire cracker this New Year,” Atienza explained.

Lito Atienza added this tip to usher the New Year with a bang: “Get your pots and pans, including your aluminum wash basins, and have your children and grandchildren take turns in making noise. They will surely enjoy doing just that until the media noche is served.”

Publishing date: Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 (2:20 PM)


January 24, 2010