RP IN REAL ENVIRONMENTAL DANGER

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RP IN REAL ENVIRONMENTAL DANGER

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bingoby Bingo Dejaresco III

SO MANY issues divert the Filipinos’ short attention span today- the Mamasapano Incident, the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, the VP Binay graft cases-that the real danger posed by the environment has taken an undeserved backseat.In our consciousness.
Reuters last week reports out of London that the Philippines- is ranked now No 1 as the “most vulnerable” country to environment disasters – and lists many cities in our country as within the most endangered lineup.Manila is ranked 4th must “exposed” in the world list with the cities of Tuguegarao, Lucena, San Fernando and Cabanatuan among the other most endangered cities. If Reuters has expanded enumerating the Philippine list, that would likely include Tacloban and Ormoc cities and the cities in Bicol.
We must note that RP is often punished by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods aside from the over 20 typhoons in a year.
Reuters further reports that “Natural hazard risk in the Philippines is compounded by poor institutional and societal capacity to manage, respond, and recover from natural hazard events.”
Over half of the cities facing the most environmental risk listed by the London research, are found in four Asian nations including RP: 21(RP), 16 (China), 11 (Japan) and 8 (Bangladesh) for an Asian total endangered cities of 56 out of the listed Most Endangered 100.
ONE VOICE PICWe have killed our trees when one tree can perhaps provide us with the equivalent filter found in 10 air-conditioners. Vast pasture lands are presently depleted by grazing cattle whose appetite far exceeds the capacity of the land to grow foliage.
In some parts of the sea, we have dynamited some fish species into near extinction and scare the birds and the bees to faraway sanctuaries. We then miss the two important agents that scatter the pollens and seeds necessary to propagate plants all over the world.
An Environmentalist Report documented that every five minutes a major shipment of toxic wastes is dumped somewhere in the Third World like RP. Our mining industries have dangerously raised the “dust level” and coal washing techniques do not insure the residue to be environmentally friendly.
Every year , we commemorate “Earth Day”- but we are always confused as to whether to celebrate or to write its obituary. For the Earth appears to be irreversibly hurtling itself into slow extinction.
Droves of birds have left Tagbilaran City (after years of happy solitude) for the quieter pastures and the small fishes we played with along the shores of Loay in the past are gone forever. The doves that used to chirp near the city cathedral and lay eggs at the rooftops of the old Holy Spirit College building are now just memories of yester-years.
In the past- when rain poured at dawn, a thousand frogs-who eat harmful insects-used to chorus along the city streets by day break-now all we hear are honks of tricycles and cars. Fly over Mt Banat-i during afternoons and see how many “kaingin” clearing is being done. ( A volunteer concerned citizen two years ago passed photos to the Chronicle. )
We have seen pictures of scores of ducks in Luzon found dead suffocating in plastic bags that we throw to their habitats. Meantime, the illegal loggers send their kids to schools aboard Mercedes Benzes and spend annual vacations in Australia while cities like Ormoc almost got wiped out of the map by urban flooding years ago.
Yolanda , that killed over 6,000 people is a by-product of climate change : nature’s pay back for the hurt man inflicts on Mother Nature.
EDSA in Manila has three times more pollution that the accepted healthy levels- how many of us pass that horror chamber many times in our lifetimes? Relatives from abroad swear that when they come down from their planes to Manila from abroad- their first complaint is slight difficulty in breathing through the dense air- Manila is one of the world’s most polluted.
The Pasig River used to be a clear blue haven- for romance and marine life. It has been turned into a murky,smelly body of water that it has taken years for environmental heroes like Gina Lopez to even bring it back to half its pristine glory-today.
There are rivers in Tagig where champion swimmer-boys from Don Bosco used to practice for athletic honors-many are now in a desolate state filled with water lilies that choke marine life .A neighbor left for the USA after his lungs were severely damaged after inhaling chemicals in a furniture company he worked with. He lost 20 pounds in one month.
Add to this the friendly cigarette smokers-like business associates, visitors and even the maids and you have “Marlboro Country”- a pre departure area, actually, to one’s grave. Now it is investigated if the sudden death of Youtube sensation Jam Bautista (lung cancer) was due to “secondary” smoking impact.Ouch.
We feel apprehensive about buying imported fruits in the supermarkets as some of them were allegedly dumped here after failing toxin tests in their countries of origin caused by fertilizer and insecticide contamination.
Our laws on the environment like the “Solid Waste Management” -have largely been ignored by the majority of the LGUs- who will punish these violators? In many barangays waste segregation is not even understood , much less practiced.
Our 21st world economics has conditioned man (by advertisement and promos) to consume and to consume more even beyond what he needs to survive. Unfortunately, the world’s growing population and the “agitated” demand for goods only result in the depletion of the more natural resources -much more than man is attempting to replace them.
In a sense ,we could be in a dying planet-what can we do -no matter how small- to save this Planet Earth ,please?
As citizens of this dying world , one means of saving this earth are voluntary acts of “poverty in spirit”- to discipline ourselves to consume less and destroy this cult of materialism.
Environmentalist David Suzuki-in his book- exposed that man’s craving to buy and consume more goods is a reflection of a psychological hunger.He said:” We think we can fill ourselves by having more things. But the more we get, the more we want- because it doesn’t fill the void.”
It is the same kind of greedy materialism that has led to the slow death of our ecosystems in the Philippines.
The solution is as basic as life is. Lead a simple existence , consume less of everything- and tell others to do the same.
Let us save this Planet Earth, please?

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