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

How to Be Eco-Friendly and Save Money at the Same Time

How to Be Eco-Friendly and Save Money at the Same Time
By Daniel Woods

Well, there are various simple things that you can do to join the green revolution. These are the simple little things which may look insignificant but when done by each one of us can help save the environment considerably.

Let us see how to be eco-friendly:

1. Don't keep the electronic appliances in stand-by mode. Do you know a thousand pounds of carbon dioxide can be saved just by unplugging the electronic appliances when they are not in use. TV, coffee pots, toaster - make sure they are not left in the standby mode when you are done using them. This will save from unnecessary electricity bill too.

2. Don't keep the tire pressure in your vehicle low. If the tires are improperly inflated, due to less pressure, they emit various gases in the air. This not only contaminates the environment but causes you extra maintenance cost too. As per a study done, if we ensure the right pressure in tires, we can easily save upto $800 worth of gas per year.

3. Don't use bottled water. Due to the weak regulations on the quality of the bottled water, in most of the cases it has been found it is nothing better than tap water. This impure water not only has an adverse affect on your health but the plastic bottles ending up in landfills contaminate the environment too. Save the cost of using bottled water and invest in a good quality water purifier instead. How to be eco-friendly - this is one of the best ways.

4. Don't use plastic bottles and containers for storing consumable items, specially water. Plastic has a property of leaching into the water/food and contaminating it. It also generates various toxic by-products like phthalates and BPA. It is non-recyclable and is toxic too. Saying no to plastic is another significant way to go green. You can instead invest in stainless steel containers which are durable, safe as well as cost effective.

5. Use an eco-friendly water purifier. It serves multiple purposes. One, it will filter out all contaminants from water and prevent them from going back in the environment. Two, it will ensure that you consume clean and pure water and thus save you from all health disorders. Three, this will discourage the use of bottled water and lower the usage of plastic. Four, it will save cost - unnecessary cost incurred in purchasing bottled water as well as that incurred during medication required after consuming polluted water.

So now that you know how to be eco-friendly, when are you turning green? Remember, every little bit helps. And the ways listed above help in saving the money too. If you need more information about eco-friendly water purifiers, visit my website listed below. It has information about an advanced, effective and a reasonably priced water purifier. This is one of the important ways for how to be eco-friendly.

Daniel Woods is a dedicated advocate and researcher of the benefits of safe, clean, healthy filtered water. He shares his research on his website - Water Purifier Home. If you want to know how to choose a water purifier, visit - http://www.waterpurifierhome.com and learn about the products our editors personally use and recommend.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Daniel_Woods

Help Protect the Ozone Layer

The Ozone Layer and It's Depletion

The ozone layer is considered as nature's umbrella. It is a thin, fragile shield that efficiently and effectively filters all harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It protects the earth and the entire ecosystem from the damaging rays of the sun. The creation and destruction of ozone molecules that composes the ozone layer is a natural phenomenon in the atmosphere. But because of certain man-made chemicals that were released in the atmosphere the balance of creation and destruction was altered. These chemicals are called Ozone Depleting Substances or ODS. ODS are compounds with halogen elements like chlorine and bromine. When these substances are released in the atmosphere, they destroy the ozone molecules and eventually deplete the ozone layer.

In 1985, scientists identified a thinning of the ozone layer over the Antarctic which became known as the "ozone hole". Scientific evidence shows that man-made chemicals are responsible for the creation of the ozone hole and are also likely to play a role in global ozone losses. ODS have been used in many products which take advantage of their physical properties (e.g. chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been used as aerosol propellants and refrigerants).

Effects of Ozone Depletion

UV-B (the higher energy UV radiation absorbed by ozone) is generally accepted to be a contributory factor to skin cancer.If you are wondering why is the ozone layer important, then the answer lies in the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. The ozone layer is responsible for absorbing the ultraviolet rays and thereby preventing them from passing through the atmosphere of Earth. Ultraviolet rays of the Sun are associated with a number of health related and environmental issues. The most important of these is the association between ultraviolet rays and an increased risk of developing several types of skin cancers including malignant melanoma, basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Even the incidents of cortical cataracts can also increase significantly with the increased exposure to ultraviolet rays.

(The Ozone Layer Over Time.
Image Credit: Institute for Studies
in Development, Environment,
and Security.)

Another observation in this regard is that a decrease in the ozone in the stratosphere can lead to an increase in the ozone present in the lower atmosphere. Ozone present in the lower atmosphere is mainly regarded as a pollutant and a green house gas that can contribute to global warming and climate change. However, researches have pointed out that the lifespan of atmospheric ozone is quiet less as compared to stratospheric ozone. At the same time, increase in the surface level of ozone can enhance the ability of sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, which can be regarded as an important beneficial effect of ozone layer depletion.

How to protect the Ozone Layer

There are many ways in which we can help protect our ozone layer. With these simple rules we can create a chain of consciousness that will make manufactures stop creating non-environmentally friendly products. Let's make these simple ways be part of our daily life.

1. Try to use products which are labeled 'Ozone-friendly'.
2. Avoid buying and using aerosols and sprays composed of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC).
Avoid buying insulating material made up of CFC.
4. Check the freezer and car air-conditioning. If they do not function properly, have them
repaired because they may have leaks
5. Reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning.
Replace halon fire extinguishers with alternatives (e.g. carbon dioxide or foam)
7. Buy energy saving gadgets and bulbs. You will reduce levels of pollution and money.

Saving Buhisan Watershed Through Tree Planting

Why save the Buhisan Watershed?

The Buhisan Watershed located in Buhisan, Cebu City, is one of the two sources of surface water distributed by MCWD (Metro Cebu Water District) to households and industries in Cebu City. Sad to say, the amount of water supplied by the watershed has steadily declined mainly because of deforestation and unsustainable practices done by the people. Aside from the amount of water that it can generate, it is also a viable eco-tourism destination, where people can take a visit and enjoy the beauty of nature. Aside from the amount of water that it can generate, it is also a viable eco-tourism destination, where people can take a visit and enjoy the beauty of nature. Because of these, there is a need for us to be responsible enough to save the watershed, not only for the present generations but for the next generations to come.

What can be done?

How can a simple individual do his or her part in saving the Buhisan Watershed? There are lots of things to be done and should have been done. As the main cause of the scarcity of water supply is deforestation, the best thing that could be done is definitely to reforest it, that is, by planting trees and more trees.This is the easiest way that we can do in order to repay mother nature for the adverse impacts we contributed. Have you done your part? Or will you do it?

Tree Planting

I am proud to say I have done and have been doing my part. Yes, I have already planted trees. A lot of them. I have planted trees in several parts of Cebu. More importantly, I have done my part in saving the Buhisan Watershed. I have planted trees in there and I'll be planting more trees if opportunities will come. Again, I am lucky enough I was able to do this because of my company's Corporate Social Responsibility program. Every time there are activities geared towards the protection and preservation of the environment, I just can't help but grab the opportunity. How about you?

Stop Global Warming

What is global warming?

Vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real and it's happening faster than ever. It is not a natural occurrence as it is a result of human activities. Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of earth. It is caused by releasing what are called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Most of the activities we do every day from turning the lights on, cooking food, or heating or cooling our homes and offices rely on energy sources like coal, gas and oil that emit carbon dioxide and other gases. More carbon dioxide is now in the atmosphere than has been in the past 650,000 years. This carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere, acts like a warm blanket, and holds in the heat. This is a major problem because it destabilizes the delicate balance that makes life on this planet possible. Just a few degrees in temperature can completely change the world as we know it, and threaten the lives of millions of people around the world.

The reason we exist on this planet is because the earth naturally traps just enough heat in the atmosphere to keep the temperature within a very narrow range, keeping our planet habitable. However, human beings have begun to tip that balance by overloading the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases from different human activities. If we don't start fixing the problem now, we’re in for devastating changes to our environment. We will experience extreme temperatures, rises in sea levels, and storms of unimaginable destructive fury. Recently, alarming events that are consistent with scientific predictions about the effects of climate change have become more and more commonplace.

Environmental Destruction

The massive ice sheets in the Arctic are melting at alarming rates. This is causing the oceans to rise. That’s how big these ice sheets are! Most of the world’s population lives on or near the coasts. Rising ocean levels, an estimated six feet over the next 100 years or sooner, will cause massive devastation and economic catastrophe to population centers worldwide.
The United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 22% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will combat global warming, protect human health, create new jobs, protect habitat and wildlife, and ensure a secure, affordable energy future.

Health Effects

In a recent chilling assessment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that human-induced changes in the Earth's climate now lead to at least 5 million cases of illness and more than 150,000 deaths every year. Temperature fluctuations may sway human health in a surprising number of ways, scientists have learned, from influencing the spread of infectious diseases to boosting the likelihood of illness-inducing heat waves and floods. Also, as temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Malaria, dengue, fever and encephalitis. These diseases are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. But if we don’t act to curb global warming, they will be.

Things We Can All Do

Unless we take steps now to curb global warming, our way of life, our planet, and our children are all in grave danger. But don't give up hope! Each of us can make simple things that will reduce or stop global warming.
  • Spread the word and share the learning by sending this link to family, friends, and colleagues to let them know about global warming and what they can do.
  • Buy green products and donate to environmental organizations.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Buy energy-efficient electronics and appliances.
  • Reduce your use of fossil fuels. Support clean and renewal energy
  • Protect native forests as "carbon storehouses"
  • Plant a tree, protect a forest.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle!
By taking these simple steps, you'll be on your way to help stop global warming and save Mother Earth!

Mallwide Green Sale in Ayala Center Cebu

Ever wonder what's this sale is all about? Why green? It's called a green sale simply because of its noble purpose, that is, to save mother earth. Ayala Center Cebu brings to its shoppers GREENOLOGY, the sustainable lifestyle through awareness campaigns & various mall activities that aim to educate and promote how each individual can do their share in saving mother earth.

The Mallwide Green Sale runs from September 29 to October 4, where shoppers can avail of big discounts the green way. How? Join the No Plastic Bag Promo during the sale period. Simply present 500 worth of receipts from any Ayala Center Cebu outlet or 2, 000 from grocery (Metro or Rustan's Fresh) or you can use your Ayala Malls Eco-Bag or turn-over your plastic bags to get instant prizes and the chance to win an eco-friendly high definition LCD TV.

Promo period will run from September 29 to October 4, 2009. The Raffle draw will be held on Sunday, October 4, 7:00 p.m. at the Activity Center. Deadline for the submission of raffle entries is on October 4 at 5:00 p.m.

Plastic bags generated from this promo will be donated to Ayala Center's community partner, Barangay Luz for their recycling projects.

An eco-art exhibit from junk springs art was also held on September 9 - 23, featuring junk arts highlighting the fundamentals of recycling. The display aims to educate the shoppers how much garbage is consumed by using junks or scraps such as plastics, papers and other recyclable materials. Artworks of the exhibit winners are displayed in various parts of the mall (see photos)

Mangrove Planting in Olangao Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu

I used to hear about mangrove planting when I was still in my previous job but didn't take the opportunity to organize one or even just participate from other environmental groups. It was only last November when I was finally able to attend and much more, to help organize the activity. It was also the first time I was able to set foot on Olango Island where we planted the mangroves. Being a first-timer, I was pretty excited thinking what it could be like and how it is done. Mangrove planting is definitely different from tree planting. You will not be planting seeds but mangrove propagules. Also, the mangrove planting time is very fast for you only have to dig a small hole the size of the propagule into the wetlands, swamps and along warm-weather coastlines which mostly are soft and easy to dig. You may even directly plant the propagule if the sand is soft enough. It's simply like planting rice seeds. You can plant 10,000 propagules in an hour or so. Proper distancing between the propagules should be observed to consider the propagules survival rate. Growth period can vary depending on the type of mangrove propagule planted.
If you are planning to organize a mangrove planting activity, here are some tips for you to consider:
1. It is advisable that you coordinate with government authority specifically the City Environment and Natural Resource Office or CENRO of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). They will give you advise as to where you do the planting and you can get the propagules from them at a very low price. 
2. Of course you need to check the calendar first if your planned schedule/date falls on a low tide. This is very important because you simply can't do the planting if its high tide. So better check it out and observe the right time.
3. Wear comfortable and breathable clothing because you will be bending your back when planting. A t-shirt and a pair of shorts/short pants would be fine. For the footwear, slippers would do but water shoes are highly recommended.
mangrove propagule before it drops from the parent tree

mangrove propagules ready for planting