NGO cites cement producers’ initiatives toward sustainable dev’t

A non-government organization (NGO) based in Central Luzon yesterday lauded initiatives by major players of the Philippine cement industry towards environment protection and preservation.

Jesus “Teng” Lim, secretary-general of the Kalipunan ng Malayang Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (KMMGL), said the cement producers’ moves deserve full public support, particularly from the farmer sector “which is the biggest stakeholder in environment protection issues.”

Lim, who is also deputy secretary general of the advocacy group Sulong sa Ikauunlad ng Gitnang Luzon; Aksyon Na (Sigla), hailed the programs being pursued by the country’s leading cement manufacturers in the areas of pollution reduction, waste management, biodiversity protection and preservation, reforestation, and preventing extinction of endangered species. KMMGL operates in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, and Bataan.

Lim cited the adoption by Lafarge-associated Republic Cement Corp. (RCC) of a six-hectare area of the endangered Ipo Watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan, where more than 1,000 tree saplings were initially planted. RCC is doing this in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Manila Water Co., the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and the non-government organization “Hands On Manila”.

RCC intends to broaden the program to cover other watersheds notably in Rizal and Batangas. Iligan Cement Corp., another Lafarge-associated company, intends to do the same.

Holcim Philippines Inc., a founding member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said it is “investing in equipment and systems that help conserve and preserve the environment.

” Holcim has installed Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems at its operating plants in Bulacan, La Union, Davao and Misamis Oriental provinces. The firm also works with local government units and industrial companies towards proper solid waste management, and in minimizing the use of scarce landfills through co-processing technology.

CEMEX Philippines, through its foundation, is implementing the Adopt-a-Species Program in partnership with Conservation International.

”All these efforts point to our desire to harmonize efforts being done by various groups on conservation and focus the initiatives for effective protection of the threatened species,” CEMEX Philippines President Sergio Menendez said.

CEMEX Philippines is the first cement manufacturer and the third Philippine company to receive the Green Choice seal for its eco-friendly products.

Responding to calls for a clean and green environment, Taiheiyo Cement established and is maintaining an environmental management system that meets both international and national environmental system standards.

CEMEX also upgrades its facilities to help protect the environment. Maintenance efforts within the Taiheiyo Cement plant are consciously carried out to preserve the environment, such as the maintenance of a plant nursery, mini-park and landscaped areas, strict observance of proper waste disposal, recycling of combustible wastes, tree planting and growing in mined-out quarry sites, and the maintenance of a quarry waste dumpsite.

NGO Leader Lim pointed out that “companies that pay their dues to the environment through worthwhile ecology-oriented projects deserve KMMGL’s and SIGLLA’ support”.

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