AS HE wakes up daily to the view of the dismal state of Pasig River, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III readies strict implementation of the law against those who abuse waterways.

In a speech at the 10th Bayer Young Environment Envoys awards at the Dusit hotel in Makati Thursday night, the President said he is looking forward not only for a heavier fine on polluters but also to the 15 days of community service for those who violate the law.

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“Every day when I wake up I face the Pasig River and I know how bad the Pasig River is and I look forward to the implementation of the law that says, who will pollute our rivers will be given a fine,” he explained.

The President led the awarding of 12 young Filipinos named as Bayer Young Environmental Envoys for successfully completing their respective environmental projects.

The Pasig River, which stretches for 25 kilometers from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay and serves as a major transport route has been declared a critical water body because of the tons of waste dumped into it daily by households and industries.

Aquino, who lives alongside its bank at the Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang, enjoined the 27.8 million young Filipinos to be the government’s partner not only in the protection of the environment but also in poverty alleviation and nation building.

“The challenges confronting our nation today are large – they can be intimidating because no single individual or organization can overcome them on their own,” he said. “But together, we can make a difference. You have to stand up and be counted, and then the power of one can become People Power.”

The President noted several ongoing environmental projects of the government in which the youth can participate.

One of these is the administration’s solid waste management program, which promotes recycling, proper collection and disposal of garbage.

The youth, said Aquino, can post in the internet information on cleaning up esteros, or the next schedule of the waste segregation day.

“We encourage you to join us. You have the ability to respond quickly to problems and find creative ways to solve them. You have the ability to access and understand different kinds of information.”

The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to Bayer for initiating a program such as the Young Environmental Envoys that gives young Filipinos the opportunity to be “agents of change”.

The Bayer Young Environmental Envoy program is a global environment education program for the youth organized by Bayer and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (JMR/Sunnex)