Background of the Study
Rivers are the bodies of water bearing an immense biological importance. Though they contain only about 0.0001% of the total amount of water in the world at any given time, rivers are vital carriers of water and nutrients to areas all around the earth, they are essential components of the hydrological cycle, for they act as drainage channels for surface water and they serve as habitat for various organisms (Hebert, 2011). With rapid increase of the country’s population and urbanization, bodies of water tremendously began to be polluted. This event commenced the contamination of drinking water as well as the widespread occurrence of waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases are often caused by parasites which are directly transmitted through consuming contaminated drinking water. Any water reserve, infested with pathogenic parasites, used in the preparation of food can be considered as a source of foodborne disease and could be easily transmitted through consumption of the same pathogenic parasites. These diseases commonly affect the digestive tract as well as the other vital parts of the body that may be fatal to anyone especially those who are immunocompromised (WHO, 2004). Globally, waterborne diseases such as diarrhea accounts for 1.5 million deaths annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its report in 2010. It is considered one of the most dangerous diseases that could be acquired in flowing water and is a major health problem for developing countries. Also, according to World Health Organization (WHO) on its report in 2004, diarrheal disease accounts for an estimated 4.1% of the total Disability-adjusted Life Year (DALY) global burden of disease and is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and is mostly concentrated in children in developing countries. Over the time - from 2004 up to the present - , rapid increase in population, urbanization, and industrialization reduce the quality of Philippine waters, especially in densely populated areas and regions of industrial and agricultural activities. The discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff has caused extensive pollution of the receiving water-bodies. This effluent is in the form of raw sewage, detergents, fertilizer, heavy metals, chemical products, oils, and even solid waste. Each of these pollutants has a different noxious effect that influences human livelihood and translates into economic costs. Access to clean and adequate water remains an acute seasonal problem in urban and coastal areas in the Philippines. The National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Central Visayas are the four urban critical regions in terms of water quality and quantity. The Government’s monitoring data indicates that just over a third or 36 percent of the country’s river systems are classified as sources of public water supply, up to 58 percent of groundwater sampled is contaminated with coliform and needs treatment, approximately 31 percent of illness monitored for a five-year period were caused by waterborne sources, and many areas are experiencing a shortage of water supply during the dry season. Nearly 2.2 million metric tons of organic pollution are produced annually by domestic (48 percent), agricultural (37 percent), and industrial (15 percent) sectors. In the four water-critical regions, water pollution is dominated by domestic and industrial sources. Untreated wastewater affects health by spreading disease-causing parasites, makes water unfit for drinking and recreational use, threatens biodiversity, and deteriorates overall quality of life. Known diseases caused by poor water include gastro-enteritis, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis. The number of water-related...
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