Environmental group moves to protect Cebu's coral reefs

Environmental group moves to protect Cebu’s coral reefs

December 11, 2009, 2:56pm

To protect the remaining coral reefs in the Bantayan Island in Cebu, environmental law group Batas Kalikasan and local cement manufacturer Cemex will embark on replacing damaged reefs with 300 artificial reef balls in the Visayan Sea.

Cemex public affairs director Darwin Mariano said the program was conceptualized in August this year after learning that whale sharks, locally known as butanding, have been sighted in the Visayan Sea, particularly near the Bantayan Island.

The latest initiative of Cemex is in a way associated to an earlier three-year biodiversity conservation program of the company, particularly whale shark protection under the “Adopt-a-Species” project in Donsol, Sorsogon.

In 2007, Cemex has partnered with the Department of Tourism and Bantay Kalikasan for the preservation of whale sharks in Donsol. “We have already completed the circle of research, livelihood, and education in Donsol under the three-year whale shark conservation program. Now we are moving the program to anotherlocation,” Mariano said.

“When I met with Ramon Magsaysay awardee Antonio Oposa of Batas Kalikasan, he mentioned about the sighting of butanding in the area. I thought that since we already conducted a project on whale shark conservation in Donsol, then why don’t we adopt the species this time in Bantayan Island?” he said.

The meeting eventually led to discussions between Cemex and Batas Kalikasan on how they can protect the remaining coral reefs in the area.

Oposa, head of the Batas Kalikasan, earlier established the School of the Seas in the Bantayan Islands.

“The problem in the area is mainly dynamite or blast fishing, causing the damage in coral reefs. We want to help Mother Nature in growing new coral reefs and producing more fish. We want to protect the remaining living coral reefs from further damage,” Mariano said.

He explained that Cemex is in the process of developing a cement mix for the right type of cement to be used to make a durable artificial reef.

He said the Type 1P Cement to be used in the manufacture of artificial reef ball is a blended Portland cement (with additives), which is suitable as it will be immersed into the sea water 300 meters deep. “It also has to match the acidity for certain water levels,” he added.

He explained that the mould is the first indigenous technology that will be used in the manufacture of artificial reefs. The target date for the manufacturing of artificial reef is in the first quarter of 2010.

“By second quarter of 2010, we’ll be ready to deploy 300 reef balls to the sea. Afterwards, we will donate the mould to Batas Kalikasan so they can continuously manufacture the artificial reefs,” Mariano pointed out.

At present, discussions among the project officers of Batas Kalikasan and the technical team of Cemex, composed of chemists and civil engineers are ongoing for the mould design. He said Cemex will initially allocate P3 million for the project.

source: www.mb.com.ph

Understanding Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. It is a development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s "sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems."

The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three constituent parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability.

Objectives of Sustainable Development

The goal of sustainable development is to balance our economic, environmental and social needs, allowing prosperity for future generations. Sustainable development encourages us to conserve our resources and preserve the environment by changing the ways in which we develop and use technologies. Pollution prevention and reduction of global environmental threats such as global warming and climate change must be done. The use of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels should be used efficiently and the development of alternatives should be encouraged to help phase them out. Everybody has the right to a healthy, clean and safe environment creating a good standard of living, with better job opportunities.

Solid Waste Management

Managing our Solid Waste

Much had been written about the worsening problem of solid waste in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the country. Even more were fora, seminars and conferences conducted to discuss ways of solving the problem. For how long would it take us to attain a zero waste economy, no one knows. But, one thing is sure - time is running out and WE need to act NOW!

Why WE?

Based on studies made by the National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat based at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), it is estimated that the per capita waste production daily in Metro Manila is 0.5 kg. This means that for every person, he or she generates half a kilo of waste a day. With an estimated population of 10.5 million, total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day. Or, 162,750 metric tons per month. Or, 1.95 million metric tons per year. Definitely, that’s a enormous amount of waste to speak of.

Next, let’s talk about how our daily waste is being disposed of. Again, based on the EMB study, only about 73% of the 5,250 metric tons of waste generated daily are collected by dump trucks hired by our respective local government units. That is assuming our LGUs are faithful to their duties to us, taxpayers. The remaining 27% of our daily waste or about 1,417.5 metric tons end up in canals, vacant spaces, street corners, market places, rivers and other places where, ironically, there’s a sign that reads “HUWAG MAGTAPON NG BASURA DITO. ANG MAHULI, BUGBOG SARADO!”

That explains why WE need to act. As part of the problem, because we produce garbage ourselves, we can also be part of the solution by reducing our contribution to the waste problem.

Why NOW?

Because at the rate we are producing waste, we will soon find ourselves buried in our own trash. Or, shall we say, we will soon be having more of our human-made mountains of garbage amidst us?

The tragedy that has befallen the residents of Payatas dump site in Quezon City, when its mountain of garbage slid down, burying in its course not a few garbage pickers, should strengthen our resolve to do something about our wasteful lifestyles.

Second, talks about landfill, as an alternative engineering solution to the garbage problem for the so-called residual waste, is fine. But where to site the landfill is another thing. For years, negotiations for landfill for Metro Manila’s garbage had elicited not only long debates among our political leaders but also emotional outbursts from prospective host communities.

Perhaps the most important reason why we have to act now on the worsening solid waste problem is their impact on human health. Health is a basic human right. We all deserve to live in a cleaner environment. We all desire for a healthy family… a healthy neighborhood… a healthy nation. And, the only way to satisfy these desires is to do away with garbage that breeds flies, roaches, rodents and harmful bacteria that can spread diseases in our homes and in our communities.

While there were already efforts in the past to address the problem head-on, the passage of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9003, otherwise known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000”, marked the turning point in the national development agenda for improved solid waste management and resource conservation.

How can we help solve the solid waste problem?

There are many ways to do it. A highly recommended formula is to adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

In addition to that, let us refrain from doing what have been prohibited under the law, to include but are not limited to the following:

a. Littering, throwing, dumping of waste materials in public places like roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros, parks and establishments;
b. Open burning of solid waste;
c. Allowing the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste;
d. Squatting in open dumps and landfills;
e. Open dumping or burying of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas;
f. Unauthorized removal of recyclable material intended for collection by authorized persons;
g. Mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal;
h. Manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;
i. Establishment or operation of open dumps; and
j. Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.

For further inquiries, please contact:

The National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat

source: http://www.emb.gov.ph