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DENR spearheads painting of landmark biodiversity wall

MANILA, May 25 — Over 100 people rallied behind the government's biodiversity conservation efforts on Friday, transforming the 1.08-kilometer fence of Quezon City's Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center into a landmark mural depicting marine and terrestrial species nationwide to help highlight the richness of the Philippines' natural wealth and further raise awareness on better protecting these against climate change and other threats.

The mural painting activity is among the events authorities lined up for the country's 2012 celebration of Ocean Month and International Day of Biological Diversity this May.

"Advocacy plays a big role in protecting the environment," Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje said during a program that kicked off the mural painting activity.

He as well as DENR-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim led volunteers of men, women and children who painted the fence that borders Quezon Ave., Elliptical Circle and North Ave.

"Today, we'll make history painting our Wall of Nature, the longest biodiversity wall in the Philippines," Lim said.

Paje reported earlier commencing with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) discussions on the possibility of DENR spearheading the Metro Rail Transit wall's transformation into a similar mural to boost the government's environmental campaign.

He urged all graffiti makers to volunteer for such project and put their artistic skills to good use.

"Be involved in something really worth pursuing," he said.

DENR-PAWB decided to boost the information and education campaign on Philippine biodiversity as data show this natural resource of over 52,177 described species continue facing threats from habitat destruction, over-exploitation, poaching and illegal trade and pollution.

Authorities also already warned about climate change's adverse impacts of biodiversity.

Such impacts include onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances, elevated sea temperature and sea level rise.

Paje is optimistic the Wall of Nature will help encourage more people to do their share in protecting the environment.

"Environmental protection isn't the monopoly of government – it's the responsibility of every citizen," he said.

DENR-PAWB reported the Philippines is among the world's mega-diverse countries, ranking fifth in plant species, fourth in bird species and fifth in mammal species.

Over half of described species nationwide are found nowhere else in the world, DENR-PAWB noted.

Lim thanked paint manufacturer and distributor Davies Paints Philippines Inc. for providing paint to the volunteers.

She noted that such paint is lead- and mercury-free 100 percent acrylic or water-based.

"I hope we can have more environmental protection partnerships with the private sector," she said.

Wildlife photographer and environmental artist Amado Guerrero reported earlier outlining the mural's design on the wall itself.

His outline guided the volunteers in painting respective sections of the wall.

The wall was divided into five sections each focusing on a biodiversity group: deep sea, corals, mangrove/seagrass, wetlands and terrestrials.

"People can learn from what they see on the Wall of Nature," DENR-PAWB Assistant Director Nelson Devanadera said.

As a treat for the volunteers, and to further highlight the need for biodiversity conservation, DENR-PAWB decided to hold a three-hour outdoor musical festival dubbed 'Ocean Jam' at the same park and on the same day after the mural painting.

PAWB organized 'Ocean Jam' in partnership with DAKILA or Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism. (PNA)

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