Janice S. Madarang
MPA 609 – Local and Regional Development Planning
Conservation, Protection & Rehabilitation of the Environment & Natural Resources
The country is widely acknowledged as having an outstanding endowment of natural resources, which could provide essential ecosystem services to the population. Demands arising from development and utilization activities, population expansion, poor environmental protection, and external factors such as climate change, however, have placed the country’s environment and natural resources under grave threat. For the medium-term, an environment that is healthy, ecologically balanced, sustainably productive, climate change resilient, and one that provides for present and future generations of Filipinos is envisioned. This vision will be pursued through an integrated and community-based ecosystems approach to environment and natural resources management, precautionary approach to environment and natural resources, sound environmental impact assessment (EIA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). These, then, are all anchored on the principles of shared responsibility, good governance, participation, social and environmental justice, intergenerational space and gender equity, with people at the core of conservation, protection and rehabilitation, and developmental initiatives.
State of the Environment and Natural Resources
The degraded state of the country’s environment and natural resources is felt most intensely by the poor, especially the rural communities given that they depend on these resources for their primary source of living. On the other hand, poverty frequently aggravates environmental stress as the marginalized population presses upon limited resources, such as unregulated activities and upland cultivation.
Major urban centers are polluted…
With regard to water pollution, the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels of 10 rivers (Bocaue, Anayan, Malaguit, Paniqui, Calapan, Iloilo, Luyang, Sapangdaku, Cagayan de Oro and Balili) are already within standard and BOD levels of rivers have improved. However, waterways in major urban centers, especially esteros, are unfit for human activity, despite recent clean-up efforts. The cost of medical treatment and loss of income from water-borne diseases total PhP6.7 billion per year, according to a WB report (2007).
Solid waste remains a major source of pollutants
Uncontrolled dumping of raw sewage in coastal areas, particularly those that are thickly populated or used heavily by tourists, contributes to dangerous water contamination levels. The lack of point-source and nonpoint-source pollution controls are the main factors that contribute to the degradation of water quality in the Philippines. The problem of solid waste disposal is most serious in urban centers, particularly Metro Manila, because of high population density, high consumption rates, and the concentration of packaged goods, and packaging materials, some of which are toxic and nonbiodegradable.
Water is becoming scarcer…
The country is endowed with abundant water resources. It experiences an average annual rainfall of 2,400 mm. and has 421 river basins, of which 20 are major river basins ranging from 990 to 25,000 sq. km. The country’s watersheds and aquifers, if fully functional, could supply 146 billion cubic meters (BCM) of water annually for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses. Total water availability is estimated at 126 BCM per year from surface water such as rivers or streams, and an estimated 20 BCM per year groundwater potential (NWRB 1998).
Although water is still abundant in certain areas, the country faces the threat of emerging water scarcity. Lack of urban planning, indiscriminate urban development, lack of investment in water, problems of water resource management, and the impact of climate change threaten water security and sustainability.
Quality of farm land is deteriorating and forested...
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