IN CELEBRATION of this year’s World Environment Day, Senator Loren Legarda urged everyone to contribute in improving the quality of air people breathe by implementing laws and avoiding the causes of air pollution within households, industries, and workspaces.
Legarda said every June 5 of the year is declared as World Environment Day to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment, with this year’s theme focusing on “air pollution” and a campaign to #BeatAirPollution.
“My message since the beginning has always been simple and clear: protecting our environment is protecting human health. We have the Philippine Clean Air Act, the Renewable Energy Act, and other environmental laws, which we must fully implement. These are not recommendatory policies. These are laws meant to save lives and improve the wellbeing of all Filipinos,” said Legarda, who authored the country’s landmark laws on environmental protection -- Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Law, Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, Clean Water Act, Environmental Awareness and Education Act, Renewable Energy Act, Climate Change Act, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, People’s Survival Fund Act, and Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas.
Citing figures from the World Health Organization, Legarda said nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air and that an estimated seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate into the lungs and cardiovascular system.
According to the United Nations, the energy production industry is a leading source of air pollution, with coal-burning power plants and diesel generators as major areas of concern, as well as the global transport sector accounting for almost one-quarter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Moreover, open waste burning and organic waste in landfills release harmful gases in the atmosphere and around 24 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide come from agriculture, forestry, and land-use.
Legarda also noted that at the household level, the indoor burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other biomass-based fuels to cook, heat, and light homes account for around 3.8 million premature deaths, majority of which are in developing countries.
“May this year’s celebration of World Environment Day further remind us of our connection with the environment and our responsibility to take care of it as a means to ensure human safety, health, and wellbeing,” she said. (PR)