Climate Change and the Philippines
Recent scientific studies reveal that human activities have contributed significantly to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that causes climate change.
The Philippines is a hotspot for climate change disasters particularly the risk for agriculture and food security due to extreme El Nino and severe tropical cyclones. The spread of infectious diseases are influenced by fluctuations in climate variables, temperature, relative humidity and rainfall. Sever super typhoons like Reming that pummeled the Bicol region in 2006 destroyed at least $90-million worth of agricultural products and infrastructure.
Diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, cholera have increased throughout the years. Climate change impacts on coastal zones and marine ecosystems caused massive coral bleaching especially in 1998 due to elevated sea temperature and fish kills and red tides like the one that occurred in 1992 which was an El Nino period.
Scientists warned the Philippines could experience famine by 2020, as the adverse impact of global warming takes its toll on natural resources. Thousands will be displaced from their homes especially in low-lying coastal communities.
Decline of Natural Resources and Biodiversity The Philippines is suffering from degradation of the natural environment. It has fifty major rivers now polluted due to abuse and neglect. Approximately two-thirds of the country's original mangroves have been lost. A hundred years ago, the Philippines had close to 22 million hectares of old growth forest. At the start of 2000, we had less than 600,000 hectares of old-growth forest left. In one century, we had cut down close to 97 percent of our original forest. A study by the Environmental Scientists for Social Change (ESSC) reveals that we have systematically cut this forest down and that we have not stopped its destruction and that of its core biodiversity.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) estimates that it takes over 4,000 liters of water to produce one kilo of rice. Because of the loss of forests, we have less water since most of our freshwater comes from watersheds found in forests. Therefore, loss of forests means loss of food.
More than 400 plant and animal species found in the Philippines are currently threatened with extinction, including the Philippine eagle, the tamaraw, and the dugong. In 2001, 49 of the nation's mammal species, 86 bird species, and 320 plant species were threatened with extinction. Endangered species in the Philippines include the monkey-eating eagle, Philippine tarsier, tamaraw, four species of turtle (green sea, hawksbill, olive ridley, and leatherback), Philippines crocodile, sinarapan, and two species of butterflies. The Cebu warty pig, Panay flying fox, and Chapman's fruit bat have become extinct.
Alarming Waste Problem in the Philippines
The Philippines is looming with garbage problems despite the passage of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or the Republic Act (RA) 9003.
2007 first quarter data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission shows that there are 677 open dumpsites, 343 controlled dumps, and 21 landfills in the country. An additional 307 dump sites are subject for closure or rehabilitation plans but without definite schedules for enforcement. About 215 additional landfills are being proposed to be set up nationwide.
About 1,000 open and controlled dump sites exist in the country. Prominent dumps all over the country can be found in Antipolo and Montalban in Rizal; Baguio City; Calapan, Mindoro Oriental; Carmen, Cagayan de Oro; Mandurriao, Iloilo City; Obando, Bulacan; and San Pedro, Laguna.
Environmentalists stress that Republic Act 9003 calls for the adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management and explicitly excludes waste incineration as an ecological option. These polluting disposal...
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