By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
As the Philippines joined the rest of the world in the celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Filipinos were encouraged to ponder on what they can do to help address recurring ecological problems, especially the declining population of animal species.
“We have an obligation to take care of this planet we all share and Earth Day is a great time to start thinking more about the environment and all the little things we can do to make the world a better place,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
Over one billion people in more than 190 countries were expected to take part in the celebration of the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, making it the largest civic observance in the world. This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species.”
Cimatu said that Earth Day 2019 theme was a reminder that keeping the planet from destruction also means actively working on slowing down the decline of the country’s threatened and endangered species such as the Philippine monkey, flying lemur, giant flying fox and tarsier.
He pointed out that this was indeed timely as the country just witnessed series of law enforcement operations that resulted in massive seizures of live wild animals and arrest of wildlife criminals—proof that the Philippines remains steadfast on its commitment to fighting illegal wildlife trade that is driving endangered species to the brink of extinction.
According to Cimatu, protecting the environment was not the sole responsibility of the government because the general public, too, must also do their part.
He noted that there were simple ways people can help to protect the environment like conserving water and energy, patronizing cleaner fuel or taking public transport, and practicing proper waste management.
The local celebration of Earth Day 2019 will be held on April 24 and 28. The first one will take place at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City with DENR and Earth Day Network Philippines Inc. (EDNPI) organizing the event.
On April 28, DENR—together with EDNPI and National Bicycle Organization—will conduct a bike parade, inter-faith prayer rally, advocacy fair, and concert in Obando, Bulacan, where one of the 17 principal river systems leading to Manila Bay is located.
Simultaneous river clean-up activities will be conducted in barangays Binuangan, Pag-asa, Salambao, and Tawiran.