Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has called on the public to be climate-conscious and use water more efficiently during the Holy Week and the rest of the summer season amid a strong El Niño phenomenon.
“The prevailing heat nowadays should remind people that we are experiencing a longer and hotter dry season. This is aggravated by El Niño and will continue as long as we do not take concrete personal steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change,” Paje said.
He added: “Let us also not forget that while we are enjoying the scenery and the time with our loved ones, there are those who are losing a lot of their livelihood because of the heat and dry spell.”
Farmers bear the brunt of drying effects of El Niño, with agricultural losses have reached more than P5 billion, covering over 200,000 hectares of farmland, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The country’s water supplies are also under close watch as reservoirs begin to dry up and rivers carrying less water.
Paje, meanwhile, urged the public to take measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño like conserving energy and water.
“Enjoy the beauty of our natural wonders, which our country has been blessed with so many of. But remember to keep the environment in as clean and pristine state as possible, or contribute to its improvement, not deterioration,” he said.
He also gave the following tips for climate-friendly summer:
• Use only as much water as needed. Any excess can be used for animals to drink, to water plants, flush the toilets, or clean floors or cars
• Use reusable food-grade containers, not disposable plastic, for food and drinking water to minimize waste
• Keep surroundings clean to reduce the use of energy and water that may be needed to clean them up
• Switch off and unplug electrical appliances, devices or fixtures when not in use
• Keep vehicles well-maintained to lessen pollution, and
• Patronize fuel-efficient vehicles that can transport more passengers at a time. This not only saves on gas but reduces emissions that worsen the heat and contribute to air pollution.
The environment chief also encouraged communities to start cleaning up waterways in their areas to prevent possible flooding after the country’s weather bureau warned of possible onslaught of La Niña when El Niño ends.
La Niña is a phenomenon that usually follows El Niño, bringing above normal rainfall, stronger monsoons, and more storms. # Adapted - www.denr.gov.ph