Run-for-a-Cause: Does it Really Care About the Philippine’s Environment?

Why do we have floods in many parts of Metro Manila during rainy and typhoon months? Why is there smog in the skyline of Metro Manila even on ordinary days? In many provinces in the Philippines, why are there sudden flash floods, landslides, and fish kills on lakes and rivers? These are some of the questions that arise when the after-negative-effects are already felt by the citizens of the Philippines. When death toll is horribly a huge number, people start complaining and blaming one another. Of course, the sympathy is there for those who have lost their love ones. The “bayanihan” is always there.

On the Photos: People Running and Biking in Clean Environments





Environmental tragedies, whether big or small, are undeniably happening in this country every year. Philippines is visited by more than 20 typhoons each year. The huge number of casualties, damage to properties, and impact to natural resources are always there. But, isn’t pollution that is the main culprit on these environmental damages brought about by man-made and even of natural disasters? This blog will aim to connect the dots behind these sad but truth-revealing stories of people’s unawareness and continues violation of the anti-pollution measures in the Philippines. It will also guide you whether to join or not in a run-of-a-cause event held in many parts of this country the whole year round.

Here are some the Philippines laws (and a part of their content) enacted to protect the people and the environment in this country. It will be a good reason to begin this story-telling by revisiting these policies. But then, it is up to you to analyze and decide whether the compliance to these laws is happening or not.

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Republic Act 8749: Philippines Clean Air Act of 1999
This is an act providing for comprehensive air pollution control policy and for other purposes.

Section 2. Declaration of Principles - The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

The State shall promote and protect the global environment to attain sustainable development while recognizing the primary responsibility of local government units to deal with environmental problems.
The State recognizes that the responsibility of cleaning the habitat and environment is primarily area-based.
The State also recognizes the principle that "polluters must pay".
Finally, the State recognizes that a clean and healthy environment is for the good of all and should therefore be the concern of all.

Source: http://emb.gov.ph/ECA%20Center/RA8749.pdf

Republic Act 9275: Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004
It aims to protect the country’s water bodies from pollution from land-based sources (industries and commercial establishments, agriculture and community/household activities). It provides for a comprehensive and integrated strategy to prevent and minimize pollution through a multi-sectoral and participatory approach involving all the stakeholders.

What are the prohibited acts under R.A. 9275?
Among others, the Act prohibits the following:

  • Discharging or depositing any water pollutant to the water body, or such which will impede natural flow in the water body 
  • Discharging, injecting or allowing to enter into the soil, anything that would pollute groundwater 
  • Operating facilities that discharge regulated water pollutants without the valid required permits 
  • Disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea by vessels 
  • Unauthorized transport or dumping into waters of sewage sludge or solid wastes 

Source: http://emb.gov.ph/eeid/cwa-english.htm

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Think again of the first few questions raised at the start of this blog story. Can you see the linkage on violating these Republic Acts to the negative impacts on people and the environment? Read more below this time for some more information about the effects of violating these acts for the cleanliness of our country.

Below are reports regarding Pollution Index from worldwide organizations who are pretty much concerned about the people and the environment.

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What is Pollution Index?
Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. The biggest weight is given to air pollution, then to water pollution/accessibility, two main pollution factors. Small weight is given to other pollution types.

Pollution Index by City
Pollution Index of Manila, Philippines is 84.83 and ranked 29th out of the 269 cities listed.
Lucknow, India has the highest (or worst pollution) pollution index of 111.49.
Guangzhou, China is the second most polluted city having an index of 110.06.
The cleanest air is at Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom having a pollution index of 0.
Albuquerque, NM in the United States of America is the second cleanest city having 1.72.

Source: http://www.numbeo.com/pollution/rankings.jsp

Pollution Index by Country
Philippines has a pollution index of 74.84 and is ranked 33rd of the 112 countries listed.
Ghana is the most polluted country having an index of 113.79.
The cleanest country is Iceland having an index of 9.85.

Source: http://www.numbeo.com/pollution/rankings_by_country.jsp

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Philippines may not be the first but at least we are now aware that pollution really inhabits this country. Do we now have the reason to believe that the smog in the skyline of Metro Manila is because of the pollution coming out from factories, vehicles and other man-made sources? Do we now have the reason to say that the polluted Pasig river, Laguna lake, Manila Bay and coastal areas in Cavite is brought about by people of the Philippines violating the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act? And if these flash floods, landslides and fish kills are happening, isn’t enough to conclude that many people are still unaware of the basic measures in protecting the environment? Are we going to blame it to the typhoon if Metro Manila sunk during the visit of “Ondoy” in 2009 if millions of trees were cut by illegal and even legal loggers, rivers and drainage systems were blocked by garbage from communities, and houses were built along dangerous places? Something wrong was done and it should have been stopped, isn’t it?

The story about pollution never ends on these conclusive questions. If there are villains in this story, there are also heroes or at least good Samaritans to the Philippines environment. Read below about the DENR and what is it good about having an agency like this in this country.

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is the Philippine agency responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral resources, including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived there from for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos.

Source: http://www.denr.gov.ph/

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Visit the DENR’s website for more information on what they are doing to ensure Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act are being followed. You can be like DENR or you can act on your own. But whether you want to become a villain or hero, it is up to you. Pollution to the environment is something we should think about now. We may not be able to bring the pollution index to 0, but we should not even more bring it up as well.

Well, a little bit confusing maybe why the title of this blog is about “run-for-a-cause”. If you will only think about it on the environmental side, there are good things and bad things if one thousand runners will run together for the main purpose of collecting funds to protect the environment. The good thing is if funds will be collected and spent in accordance with the main purpose or cause, the environment will surely benefit from the event. Well, running is absolutely good for our health and people will benefit too regardless of fund collection and spending matters. The bad thing is if the funds collected are not spent for that cause. Another bad thing is if during the event, plastic bottles, food wrappers, and campaign banners were just left behind and becomes pollutants to the environment. How many run for the environment which really serves its purpose has been held in Metro Manila? And why do you think Manila is still polluted and people are suffering from floods up to these very days? Can you connect the dots between run-for-a-cause and the pollution we are experiencing in this country?

Let us end this story by leaving this message:

Don’t be evil to the environment.

See more photos below. These are not taken from the Philippines but are posted here to serve as inspiration to everyone on how would it be really like to have a clean environment.



















About this Blog
This blog is written for the main purpose of impacting to the people the importance of protecting the environment - of the Philippines environment in particular. Thank you for reading this blog post. For more information about how you can help the environment, ask a question to the author - Noriel Panganiban. Explore more this blog site to learn more things about changing everything bad to good in this country.

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