QUEZON City, June 17, 2013— Environmentalists lauded the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its decision to forgo the ceremonial burning this coming Friday of confiscated elephant tusks.
Heeding the appeal of several groups of environmental advocates, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje on Sunday instructed the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) to skip the ceremonial burning and instead use a road roller to squash the tusks.
“We welcome this enlightened decision by the DENR leadership,” Von Hernandez, President of the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition, said.
“We hope this translates to a wide ranging directive against the usual practice of burning confiscated goods. The law is clear on the issue prohibiting open burning,” he added.
Some 30 advocates led by EcoWaste Coalition last Thursday asked the government agency to forgo the burning of the tusks as doing so will send a wrong message to the public that open burning is acceptable.
They also argued the act is violative of R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and R.A. 8749, the Clean Air Act.
But the groups maintained that while they strongly oppose open burning, they are supportive of the efforts “to end elephant poaching and stop illegal wildlife trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
The coalition had earlier recommended to DENR to destroy the tusks and bury these for composting at an appropriate site within the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center to ensure that the ivory tusks are not returned to illegal trade. (CBCPNews)