AS THEY heed the call of some concerned residents on waste reduction, Panagbenga organizers vow improvements aimed for the long-term by living up to the festivity’s pro-environment theme.

Panagbenga Executive Committee chairman Anthony De Leon said they are now trying to recruit the community into helping in the city’s environmental preservation efforts together with the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio and the University of the Cordilleras.

De Leon said this was shown during the Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio activity held Sunday at the Melvin Jones football field where residents are enjoined into helping waste reduction and greening efforts of the city.

This as the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation said pro-environment activities are only apt in applying this year’s 19th Panagbenga Festival theme ““Inspiring the Community for a Greener Tomorrow.”

With the implementation of a zero-plastic policy in the previous installations of the Session Road in Bloom, De Leon said they have also implemented the same policy at the Baguio Blooms activity at the Lake Drive.

Unlike in previous year’s conduct of the Baguio Blooms (formerly Market Encounter), concessionaires are now required to strictly pay garbage fees and for clean-up crews that will be maintaining the cleanliness of Lake Drive.

The clean-up crew, he stressed, would monitor garbage collection and most importantly segregation of waste materials as he stressed segregation would show if the concessionaires are taking their policy seriously.

“We really have to invest in protecting the environment. Hindi ka pwede ngayon mag come-up ng activity to promote that it is environment-friendly if participants do not foot the bill of paying garbage fees,” he said.

Festival organizers also encourage consumers most especially tourists to bring reusable bags and bayongs when shopping in tiangges at either Session Road in Bloom or Baguio Blooms stalls.

He added the strict and prompt collection of garbage, finding ways to reduce the trash and regreening efforts only shows how serious the organizers are in caring for the environment.

Meantime, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the festival’s theme only mirrors the concerns on climate change, solid waste management and environmental protection should not be ignored.

Domogan said he has tasked the General Services Office to take seriously the problems on garbage and ensure regular collection of trash that is expected to litter city streets especially on the float and street dance parades.

Additional street sweepers were also hired by the local government to make sure the city continue to live-up to its pride to be one of the most cleanest and greenest highly urbanized cities in the country.

The City Environment and Parks Management Office also took extra time to maintain parks and plant perennial blooms that endears visitors to snap photos at Burnham Park and other popular tourist attractions.