Monday, April 25, 2016

Vital Environmental Concerns for Halalan 2016

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []
                                                             Floating Garbage, Manila Bay 
                                                               Dump Site, Payatas, QC

In the three presidential debates, the agenda of each of the candidates as far as environment is concerned, have not been defined, much less presented to the people. Yet environment is very basic to progress and development. Here are issues to look into as vital concerns for policy consideration and program implementation.
1. Desertification - Unabated expansion of arid areas formerly croplands and pastures, likewise former forests and woodlands. Remember the Great Dust Bowl of the Dakotas and Kansas in the US in the 1930s. The edges of deserts of the world  called Steppes are expanding at an alarming rate causing famine and eco-migration. 

2. Deforestation - The foothills of Mt Makiling have been converted into subdivisions, commercial centers and resorts. Mt Apo and Mt Pulag, two highest mountain in the 
Philippines have lost their once thick vegetation. Deforestation pf Mangrove is as rampant.  Mangroves are natural barriers against tsunami and tidal waves. 

3. Pirating rivers and coastal areas  and converting them into resorts, fishponds, and settlements - formal and informal (squatters), creating bottlenecks that impede flood waters, swamps that breed pests and diseases, and depriving freshwater and marine life. destruction of fish nursery.

4. Protection of threatened and endangered organisms. Remember Pamana (juvenile Philippine Eagle), our national symbol and pride. Hundreds of plants and animals belong to these two categories.  The world has lost thousands which are remembered only by their fossils and in the archives. 

5. Preservation of our natural gene pools - Establishment of natural gene banks, such as botanical gardens, modern concept of zoos (simulated natural wildlife) of native plants and species.  Uphold strict regulation against genetically modified crops and animals such as Bt Corn and Golden Rice.  Uphold Supreme Court decision to suspend indefinitely researches on genetic engineering. This is security from experimental genetically modified biological warfare.    

6. Over fishing - regulate catch, fishing gears, observe off-season, protect fish sanctuaries, adopt quota system by area, by fishing unit, prosecute dynamite and other destructive illegal fishing. 

7. No Garbage Importation. No to imported garbage, special mention of the controversial 2500 tons of garbage from Canada (See succeeding post). Earlier Japan did the same to us.  We imported their garbage! The Canadian Garbage issue has not been resolved to date. (Check Internet)

8. Close down Payatas QC dump site. IT IS POLLUTING THE LA MESA RESERVOIR main source of drinking water for Metro Manila. A sub-culture has grown in this area which tourists are curious to visit.  The site is a breeding place of criminality, sub-human subsistence, diseases, and toxic materials which include dioxin, the most poisonous substance ever created by man. 

9. National and local waste management needs updating (state-of-the-art, like in Germany and the US), and strict implementation. Biogas generation, controlled incineration, compost fertilizer manufacture, more efficient recycling. 
Landfill must be reviewed of its effects to health, ground water supply and long term consequences such as sink holes, liquefaction in case of earthquake.   

10. Deteriorating and shrinking watersheds.  Squatting and illegal fixtures, intrusion and other violations. are rampant.  The life of our dams such as Ambuklao, Magat, Angat, Pantabangan, Binga is apparently being reduced, so with their efficiency in providing electricity and water supply.  Destruction of their vegetative cover results in erosion and siltation. Their ability to attract clouds to become rain is reduced, thus there is less water to impound. 

11. Air pollution. Metro Manila has the worst air quality, what with daily heavy traffic. There are solutions but they are easier said than done.  For example, implement the Clear Air Act (Law), or decongest.  Establish residence in less polluted areas, i9n the province. There are a number of solutions. List down those that every citizen or home should do. 

12. Natural farming eliminates much of the preservatives and pesticides that destroy our environment. Natural products enhance good health and balanced environment. Save the animals.  Bring back the natural predators of destructive pests like frogs, house lizards, spiders and ladybugs. 

13. Water Impounding - Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIP) for irrigation, electricity, fisheries and wildlife conservation.  Rainwater impounding is complementary on-farm and in urban areas. A series of small dams (China model) saves runoff water that otherwise flows out to sea or wasted along the way. We have a number of SWIP models in the Philippines (Sta. Barbara, Iloilo).  

14. Parks and reservations on the national, regional and barangay levels for wildlife sanctuary, ecological, educational and recreational purposes. Proper maintenance is vital, so with updating the concept of parks and reservations, and not merely for pasyalan o pang turista lamang. These should be integrated with educational, research and other institutions.  Models are found in many countries, which we may modify according oto our conditions.        

15. Sanitation and orderliness - Our towns and cities need to be presentable on the standards set by many countries.  Public places and markets, schools, government offices, transport stations, comfort rooms, are deplorably ill maintained. Epidemic breeds on dirty places. Informal communities are hardest to tow the line in the absence of a comprehensive program.     

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