Sunday, October 10, 2010

Global warming and our local environmental problems

Global warming is the increase in the average global temperature. It is a real problem now and we are starting to experience its bad effects like the more frequent occurrence of strong typhoons, the warming of sea water resulting in decreased fish catch by fishermen, and the increased amount of rainfall resulting in catastrophic floods and landslides. It is predicted that the tropics where the Philippines is located will be most affected by global warming.

But apart from this global environmental problem, there are also serious local environmental problems that need urgent action. These include deforestation, land degradation, and soil and water pollution. Except for deforestation, these local problems have seldom grabbed the headlines and the endorsement of politicians and popular personalities hence most people are not well aware about the severity of these problems. But they are already threatening our lives and studies have indicated that these environmental problems may have already contributed to the loss of lives or have caused health problems of people.

The fact that much of the original or primary forest in most Philippine islands is now gone clearly indicates that we failed in protecting this vital natural resource. No need to cry over spilt milk says the popular expression. What we need to do is to see to it that the forest that remains is protected and the degraded uplands, the product of deforestation and kaingin in previous decades, are rehabilitated especially in critical watersheds across the country. A degraded land has reduced capacity to absorb rain so that much of the water during rainy days flows on the land surface resulting in floods and lowering of the water table (meaning, drying up of wells!). Degraded lands are also infertile and unproductive and thus are a threat to food security. Many of the poorest farmers are also living and farming in these marginal lands.
Soil and water pollution is largely caused by improper disposal of municipal solid wastes, the unregulated use of pesticides and fertilizers by farmers, and mining. Most towns in the country do not have proper dumpsites. Very disturbing is the fact that many municipalities use their mangrove areas (a vital breeding place for marine organisms) as dumpsites for solid municipal wastes. The unregulated use of pesticides and fertilizers by farmers also leads to soil and water pollution. You can easily notice this from the unusual vigorous growth of algae and aquatic plants around rice fields, ponds, rivers and bays suggesting excess amount of nutrients from fertilizers and other sources. Mining is also a major cause of soil and water pollution. It is very unfortunate that more and more areas are opened to mining. The negative environmental effects of the Bagacay Mine which operated from 1954 to 1992 are still there. Recent major efforts to rehabilitate the site have not been successful.

One last thing: when you drink a glass of water, how do you know that it is not yet contaminated with harmful chemicals?

Photo source:
The global warming figure above was taken from the Renewable Energy Blog

1 comment:

dan PAHATI said...

Can I have the picture in hd the one with garbages
I need it for my PERFORMANCE TASK and it will be exhibited? :D :)
Send it in my google account :( ASAP :(