Agata Earth Day 2020: Climate Action to Help Nature Heal for Humanity
The celebration of Earth Day this year is marked by two striking differences that underscore both its significance and timing. First, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of its commemoration. Second, and even more timely so, it is celebrated at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic – which now highlights the need to heal across the land and the need to care for humanity’s common habitat.
And while the Philippines suffers from bearing the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region, it has reason to believe that it is now “flattening the curve” to some degree as recoveries are now exceeding the number of fatalities.
Amidst a Global Crisis
Commemorating Earth Day has been a long-standing tradition in Agata, which has consistently celebrated it for the past 13 years. Since 2007, Agata has gone on to plant and grow some 395,274 trees across 369 hectares in and around its mine site. It is also the first to introduce an eco-tourism concept by rolling-out its thematic landscaping program that takes an artistic approach in rehabilitating mined-out areas.
The one-day celebration was themed “Climate Action: Helping Nature Heal for Humanity” and was held in the company’s Agroland, which houses Agata’s main nursery operations.
The event highlighted the proper utilization and development of natural resources as a way of helping nature heal. Lessons on “harnessing resources” – and not wasting – is the company’s legacy of “multiplying and sharing the bread” with all its stakeholders, especially those who are benefitted by the Agata Nickel Project.
Event participants included supervisors and staff from different departments along with representatives of the company’s various contractors.
Safety officers were also present during the activities to monitor the movement of participants and ensure that safety and health protocols were observed, including strict physical distancing and wearing of PPEs throughout the event.
The ceremony kicked-off with a message from Assistant GM Anthony B. Quijano and Environment Manager Jesalyn A. Guingguing whose message was delivered on her behalf by Andrew Namawayan. A comprehensive IEC on COVID-19 was then conducted by company physician, Dr. Wangil Lee, followed by a briefer on Land Resource Management to inculcate the company’s approach and good practices in progressive rehabilitation among the ranks.
The participants engaged in various activities like vegetable gardening, seedling production, culling of seedlings, weeding, and a minute-to-win-it game that highlights how nature affects every aspect of our lives – from our food source to our jobs, even at a time of crisis such as the present.
The afternoon was spent with a tree-growing activity in Mine Area 1 among groups of five persons each. In addition to a pre-Earth Day tree-growing activity, a total of 800 seedlings of Mangium, Agoho and African Tulip were planted during the course of Agata’s Earth Day events.
To conclude the celebration – and in true Agata fashion – various staff and the participants themselves put together a dance routine dedicated to all Filipino frontliners engaged in fighting the pandemic.
This year, Agata simultaneously celebrated Earth Day with the rest of the TVIRD Group in Zamboanga Peninsula. Employees of mother company TVIRD in Bayog Municipality, Zamboanga del Sur also held a commemoration of Earth Day within its facilities in Sitio Balabag.
The celebration was attended by various departments – and just like in Agata – the number of participants was controlled in compliance with safety and health protocols. The program included a Zumba dance contest, a seedling production activity, a quiz bowl contest, photo and video presentations – even signing a pledge to the environment.
A Legacy of responsibility
Agata leads in the field of environmental stewardship and management through its ISO-certified Environmental Management System, which it implements from ridge to reef – from upland reforestation activities, down to protecting the marine sanctuary on its shores.
In previous years, the company conducted a massive coral relocation program – also a first among Philippine mining companies. This holistic approach harmonizes the interconnectivity of the entire ecosystem, covering both terrestrial land and coastal resources in the area.
Agata also installed improvised silt curtains and rafts made from recyclable materials in its causeway to preserve its clear coastlines. This practice has been replicated in other mining operations in the region.
Agata consistently endeavors to make every Earth Day celebration a memorable one, upholding the spirit of environmental stewardship, pursuing active environmental engagements and demonstrating its sincerity in promoting and practicing responsible mining.