As the nation joins the rest of the world in observing Earth Day today, April 22, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu urged Filipinos to pause and reflect on the most pressing ecological problems facing the world today and think of what they can do to save the planet.

“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,” 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 the Earth Day 2019 theme is 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 said this is 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 is not the sole responsibility of the government because the general public, too, must also do their part.

He noted that there are 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.

“Being more environmentally conscious is the right thing to do. Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle could help create a sustainable planet and mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming,” Cimatu said.

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.

Several activities are lined-up for the event, including the signing of an agreement for tree planting activities between the DENR and Couples for Christ; launching of the search for model barangays and “green” corporations; on-the-spot painting and poster-making contests; and Earth Day festival bazaar and exhibit.

On April 28, the 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. ###