Philippines is a strong global performer, ranks high on Green IndexPosted on June 20th, 2012 under The Good Balita
The Philippines is now categorized as a global “strong performer” after gaining a higher mark in environmental performance, besting Australia, the United States, Singapore and Bulgaria.
In the biennial Environmental Performance Index (EPI) prepared by the Yale and Columbia universities, the Philippines ranked 42nd among 132 countries under the “strong performer” category.
Australia was ranked 48th and the US landed on the 49th spot while Singapore ranked 52nd and Bulgaria, 53rd, under the “modest performer” category.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said a higher rank indicates that a country or region is closer to achieving its established goals in environmental policy.
The EPI, prepared in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission in Italy, studies data to analyze how the global community is doing on particular policy issues against environmental pressures. It is also used to steer individual countries toward environmental sustainability.
“We are pleased that the international community has recognized our efforts on environmental protection and management,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said.
“We would like to share this achievement with all the sectors and stakeholders, including other agencies of the government, who have collaborated with us in our programs, particularly in cleaning the air and water, forest protection, national greening program, biodiversity conservation, and other environmental protection initiatives,” he added.
The Philippines jumped eight places from its 50th rank in 2010. The country retained its ranking of eighth in the Asia-Pacific region, higher than South Korea, Australia and Singapore which ranked ninth, 10th, and 11th, respectively.
For 2012, the EPI ranked 132 countries on 22 performance indicators across 10 policy categories under two policy objectives: Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality.
The Philippines gained perfect scores in the indicators for outdoor air pollution, change in forest cover, and growing stocks in forests.
Paje cited strong regulatory efforts of the government to obtain cleaner air as evidenced by the 30 percent drop in the amount of total suspended particulates (TSPs) from 166 µg/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) in June 2010, to 116 µg/Ncm toward the end of last year.
The normal standard set for TSP by the World Health Organization is 90 µg/Ncm. Particulate matter or dust contributes to respiratory infections and other diseases.
Paje also credited the perfect scores in the forestry sector to the issuance by the Aquino administration of Executive Orders 23 and 26.
EO 23 imposes moratorium in the cutting of trees in natural and residual forests. It also mandated the creation of an anti-illegal logging task force with the DENR secretary as head, and the chiefs of the departments of the Interior and Local Government, and National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as members.
Last year, the task force confiscated more than 10 million board feet of undocumented logs and lumber and filed 452 cases against forestry law violators.
EO 26 established the National Greening Program to reduce poverty, provide food security and mitigate climate change by planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares over a period of six years.
For 2011, the DENR, together with other government agencies, local government units, the private sector, civil society and other partners, was able to plant 69 million seedlings in more than 118,000 hectares nationwide.
(Story courtesy of Micheal Punongbayan of the Philippines Star)