June is Philippine Environment Month

BY

cutting plastic eugene cubillo june 8 2024.jpg
 

The Philippine Environment Month (PEM), celebrated every June by virtue of Proclamation No. 237 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino on April 4, 1988, advocates for the protection, enhancement, and development of the country’s environment. Coinciding with this is World Environment Day, observed every fifth day of June.


The month-long event emphasizes the need to “heighten the environmental consciousness of our people and to generate greater participation and integration of efforts through the extended celebration of environmental protection concern and awareness in the country.”


This year’s theme, “Our Environment. Our Future,” underscores the crucial link between the Earth’s health and the wellbeing of future generations. According to Earth.org, the top four environmental issues in the Philippines are air, plastic, and marine pollution, and sea level rise.


In IQAir’s 2023 World Air Quality Report, PH ranked 79th out of 134 countries, reaching 13.5 micrograms per cubic meter average of PM2.5, which is almost triple the advised average PM2.5 concentration of five or less. 


The World Bank also reported that the Philippines produces 2.7 million tons of plastic waste annually, with 20 percent entering our oceans and harming biodiversity.


Meanwhile, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union revealed Manila is subsiding at 20 millimeters annually, surpassing the average sea level rise almost tenfold.


PEM’s call to action urges everyone to take responsibility for the environment by incorporating sustainable practices into their daily lives. Every action matters, whether it involves cutting down on plastic usage, participating in tree-planting and water conservation efforts, or engaging with other green initiatives.


Helping the planet requires a collective shift in mindset. This doesn’t demand instantaneous efforts lest we overwhelm ourselves; rather, it can be achieved step by step, one eco-friendly habit at a time. Start by reading beyond the headlines and bringing eco-friendly bags when shopping. Use reusable water bottles to prevent plastic use. These actions, small but when done collectively, effect monumental change.


To participate in eco-initiatives, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its Environmental Management Bureau, is leading this year’s “Beat Air Pollution” campaign. The DENR addresses air pollution by implementing Republic Act 8749, the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, which aims to maintain healthy air for all Filipinos while minimizing economic impacts.


During the same month, from June 4 to 10, the Philippine Eagle Week is also celebrated, serving as a reminder of the significance of the country’s national bird as a “biological indicator of the forest ecosystems, as a national symbol, and as a unique heritage.” Philippine Eagle Week is observed annually by virtue of Proclamation No. 79 signed by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Feb. 24, 1999.


This June, let’s all engage and participate together with environmental groups, government agencies, and independent nature stewards for a collaborative effort to create a sustainable world where nature thrives, ensuring a secure future for us all.