Press Release
April 21, 2006

During the international observance of Earth Day

Senator Manny Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party, says that people need not think of major things or projects to help save the environment. According to him, little things such as disposing garbage properly and conserving energy when done consistently go a long way as well.

"There are a thousand and one little ways of contributing in the campaign to preserve and protect the environment. Anyone can contribute; one does not need to be rich, powerful or wealthy to take part. The task of saving the earth may be daunting, but with our united efforts, it is possible," says Villar.

Villar cites this on the eve of Earth Day celebration tomorrow (April 22, Saturday). Various Earth Day networks worldwide including in the Philippines will spearhead the commemoration of Earth Day. Local celebration of Earth Day started in 1990 when then President Cory Aquino issued Proclamation 553 mandating April 22nd of every year as Earth Day in the Philippines.

Villar, the proponent of Clean Air Law, also reminds motorists or vehicle owners to be mindful of the maintenance of their vehicles so that these would not emit harmful fumes that cause air pollution, and ultimately poses health hazards to people, especially children.

"I fought for the passage of the Clean Air Bill while I was still Speaker of the House of Representatives because I believe that every Filipino has the right to breathe clean air. While in many areas, there are positive improvements in air quality, we still have a long way to go," adds Villar.

The Clean Air Law or Republic Act 8749 which was passed into law in May 1999 aims to improve air quality throughout the country, and includes among its provisions the banning of incinerators in solid waste disposal, improving gasoline quality by reducing the level of aromatics, and requiring factories to install anti-air pollution devices.

Villar further cites, "It saddens me to know that Manila is still among the highly polluted cities worldwide. I was also amazed to know that Baguio, a popular vacation place for Filipinos where we thought we can breathe in fresh cool air, is also quite pollutedmore polluted than Metro Manila in fact."

According to the DENR, Manila ranks as the fifth most polluted among major cities worldwide along with Beijing and Shanghai in China; New Delhi, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Based on the readings from air monitoring stations, the total suspend particles or TSP level in Metro Manila was around 144 microgram per normal cubic meter last year. The standard or ideal TSP level is 90 microgram per normal cubic meter.

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