CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) regional office here has partnered with the Liga ng mga Barangay in Nueva Ecija to engage local communities in solid waste management and river protection.
Donaver Guevarra, regional information officer of the DENR, said on Monday that local leaders from 89 villages in Cabanatuan City took part in a series of environmental education lectures in a bid to raise public awareness and knowledge on some important pressing environmental issues, and solicit support to the protection and conservation of the environment.
Guevarra said the massive information campaign is critical in the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay since Nueva Ecija is the upstream portion of the 260-kilometer Pampanga River that drains into the bay.
"Waste disposal, especially single-use plastic management, remains a challenging part of the cleanup of Manila Bay areas in the region. Educating people on proper waste segregation, the importance of our river system, and its connectivity to Manila Bay are important, so that household wastes may be prevented from reaching waterways and river systems," he said in an official social media post.
He said the Association of Barangay Captains in Cabanatuan City led by its president Christopher Lee has vowed to support the program of the DENR and will intensify their solid waste management efforts including river cleanup.
Amid the pandemic and strict quarantine measures, Guevarra said the DENR will continue to conduct information, education, and communication (IEC) activities among local leaders about their roles in promoting and implementing ecological solid waste management and river protection, especially during this habagat (southwest monsoon) season when garbage is often washed away in the river system and other waterways.
The DENR-Region 3 (Central Luzon) conducted last month the environmental education lecture series in 15 barangays in Mariveles town and Balanga City in Bataan; Capas and Bamban towns in Tarlac; Masinloc town in Zambales; and Sasmuan town in Pampanga, participated in by over 400 barangay officials, health workers and members of people's organizations.
"Providing the public as well as the leaders of our local government with the right information and educating them on the value and importance of our environment especially our rivers and mangrove ecosystems including environmental laws are important ways we can help save our environment," Guevarra said.
He said caring for the environment starts from understanding, and the local government is at the forefront of keeping a balance and sustainable ecosystem to make a community protected and resilient against disaster and calamity.
The environmental topics that have been discussed during the lecture series include the protection of mangroves, tips to become plastic-free, ecological solid waste management, the importance of the river system, and the Manila Bay cleanup and rehabilitation.
This year, the DENR-3 has already conducted 37 environmental education lectures using a blended approach of online platforms and face-to-face interaction participated in by more than 1,200 local government leaders and members of peoples' organizations in Central Luzon. (PNA)