‘Green belts’, protection of species in env’t code

Posted on October 30, 2012

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Building “green belts” in Cebu’s towns and cities and the protection of vulnerable species like whalesharks is promoted in the Cebu Environment Code passed on final reading by the Provincial Board (PB) last Oct.15.

The code, the first of its kind in Cebu Province, integrates ordinances passed since 1988, orders and other pertinent laws on the environment as well as repealing 34 related ordinances.

“(There’s a need to) highlight the impact of pollution on public health and the importance of mainstreaming programs, projects and building coalitions to create healthy communities,” said PB Member Thadeo Ouano, chairman of the PB environment committee, who worked on it for two years.

He said the code establishes the need to preserve the life-support functions of existing natural ecosystems for long-term sustainability of communities.

The Code includes a provision on wildlife and biodiversity for the protection of “vulnerable marine species” such as the whale sharks locally known as “tuki” of Oslob and thresher sharks spotted in Moalboal and Malapascua Island in Daanbantayan.

Under a previous ordiance, the “catching, possession, and trading of thresher sharks and whale sharks” as well as giant manta rays and sun fishes “within the territorial jurisdiction of the province is prohibited.”
Cebu is known for world class dive sites in Moalboal and Daanbantayan towns.

The code also promotes the protection of endemic birds like the Cebu Flowerpecker which was previously declared the official bird of Cebu province and the Black Shama or locally known as “Siloy” in Alcoy town.

The environment code also highlights the promotion of “storm water and drainage management and projects” and regulates sand and gravel quarrying which require a permit from the governor’s office.

It also called for the strengthening of the existing Provincial Water Resources Authority.

The code called for the creation of “green belts” in towns and cities and encouraged construction of sewage treatment plants that would render sewage and domestic sludge acceptable to water bodies.

The Environment Code was one of the priorities of the Capitol’s Executive-Legislative Agenda meeting held last March. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent

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