Green Convergence to LGUs: ‘Invest in green spaces!’

Green Convergence to LGUs: ‘Invest in green spaces!’

The state of air quality and the need for expansion of green spaces in Metro Manila was the subject of the 355th monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum held on October 18, 2019 (Friday) at Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA, Mandaluyong City.

In a 2012 report by the World Health Organization, “Every year, around 7 million premature deaths [in the world] are caused by air pollution,” said Lyrio Woldring of Smart Air Philippines, “One in four deaths in the Philippines are attributed to air pollution,” she added.

Woldring emphasized that while the right type of masks are effective in protecting people from the worst impacts of air pollution, she was disappointed that the government was not treating the problem as a health concern. She remarked, “We have a campaign for polio, for dengue, why not for air pollution?”

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte’s representative, Patrick Alzona of the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD), spoke about the LGU’s plans to promote green spaces.

Alzona said that as the “lung” of Metro Manila, “Quezon City aims to implement the ‘Green Pedestrian Corridor’ in an attempt to increase the city’s green spaces to 25% of its total land area,” adding further that the City Mayor “wants to create a department solely for climate change and sustainability,” possibly the first of its kind among LGUs.

Asked about the young trees in plant boxes recently destroyed by the government along some streets, Alzona explained that they are treated as “collateral damage” of the national government’s road clearing operations. “They can be replanted,” he said further.

In the discussion, Negros Occidental’s Nordson Forest Park owner Atty. Nordy Diploma passionately declared that government inaction on environmental problems and non-compliance with environmental laws must never be tolerated.

Diploma converted 40 hectares of his land to a forest park for the benefit of his community, instead of using it for business.

“Trees are still the best absorbent of carbon dioxide,” asserted Dr. Angelina Galang, Green Convergence President, as a final reminder to the audience and the LGUs about the importance of trees, particularly the native ones, in combating air pollution.

Since March 1990 Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan Forum, held every 3rd Friday of each month, has become an institutionalized platform that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. The forum is organized by Green Convergence and is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA, with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.

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