MANILA, Philippines - Clean air and clean surroundings are central in the roster of activities the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lined up for the double celebration of November as Environmental Awareness and Clean Air month.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that activities slated for the nationwide celebrations would “ensure that the seed of environmentalism will be planted and nurtured and become a way of life for most, if not all, Filipinos.”
“Everyone needs to be aware of the impact of their actions because the success and failure of environmental programs and the overall condition of our environment lie on small, personal acts that accumulate over time,” Paje said.
The activities will be spearheaded by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).
Most of the activities on environmental awareness center on climate change and solid waste management (SWM).
These will be highlighted by the launch of the Eco-Savers’ Program for elementary and high schools on Nov. 8 at the Arroceros Park in Manila.
The program enjoins students to practice waste segregation at home and bring their recyclables to school in exchange for school supplies or cash.
Around 50 top-level management representatives of the DENR and other government agencies will undergo training on green growth, or economic growth through sustainable use of natural resources, at the Department of Agriculture on Nov. 12 and at the DENR on Nov. 13-14.
The training of trainers is sponsored by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Asian Institute of Technology.
The EMB, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), together with the Solid Waste Association of the Philippines (SWAPP), will also hold the SWAPP Conference (SWAPPCon) 2012 to discuss the effectiveness of SWM by local government units (LGUs) in improving climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction.
The event will be held on Nov. 20-23 at the Bayview Hotel in Manila.
SWM training or seminars are also scheduled for members of Metro Manila’s Sangguniang Kabataan on Nov. 6-8, and for the provincial SWM boards in the Ilocos, Cordillera and Davao regions starting Nov. 6, 20 and 26, respectively.
Senior educators will gather in a national assembly on environmental protection and management sponsored by the EMB and the Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management (PATLEPAM).
The meet will be in Cebu City on Nov. 21-22.
Meanwhile, the celebration of Clean Air Month will kick off with a seminar on vehicle maintenance, fuel management and eco-safe driving for public utility vehicle operators, drivers and mechanics at the DENR compound on Nov. 11.
A ‘Clean Air Fiesta Caravan’ on the theme, ‘Usok Mo, Buhay Ko,’ will be held at the Dapitan Sports Complex on Nov. 17, and at the Sarmiento Sports Complex a week later.
The caravan, co-organized by the EMB and the Philippine Medical Association, will feature, among others, medical lectures, inter-barangay basketball tournament, singing, dancing and painting contests. Winning paintings will be posted on the rear of buses plying the Fairview-Baclaran route until May 2013.
On Nov. 18, the Firefly Brigade will hold its 14th Tour of the Fireflies, a publicly anticipated cycling event born from a concept that uses fireflies as an indicator of clean air.
The bike tour will kick off at the Tiendesitas Complex in Pasig City and will have the theme, ‘B.E.S.T.-Bicycle for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation.’
A ‘car-free day festival’ on the theme, ‘Clean Air?...Pwede!’ will feature the use of bicycles, electric vehicles and other alternative modes of transportation at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City and at the Ortigas Centre in Pasig City on Nov. 25.
The event is organized by the EMB, the Partnership for Clean Air and its member institutions, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Transportation and Communication, and the city governments of Pasig and Makati.
Proclamation 1109 issued in 1997 declared November as ‘Clean Air Month through National Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Consciousness’ to create awareness among motorists on the importance and benefits of vehicle maintenance.
On the other hand, Republic Act 9512 or the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008, declared the same month as ‘Environmental Awareness Month.’ This law called for the integration of environmental education in school curricula.