Domestic effluents are generated from activities such as bathing, laundry, cleaning, cooking, washing, and other kitchen activities. This contains a large amount of organic waste with suspended solids and coliforms. Calculations made based on available data show that half the organic waste is from the domestic sector (PEM, 2003). As stated in the EMB report, domestic wastewater discharges contribute highest to the BOD load as the lack of sewage treatment system allows more than 90 percent of inadequately treated domestic sewage to be discharged into surface waters, which contain bacteria and viruses that threaten human life. Geographically, data show that one-third (30 percent) of BOD generation comes from Metro Manila and Region IV alone, at 18 and 15 percent, respectively (PEM, 2003).
Reports show that the volume and characteristics of industrial effluents vary by type of industry and are influenced by different factors such as production processes and the scale of production used. Industries that are found to be water-intensive, i.e. food and dairy manufacturing, pulp, paper and paperboard products, and textile products, correspondingly discharge large amounts of wastewater (PEM, 2003). Most of the water pollution-intensive industries are in National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Region III. Food manufacturing industries, piggeries, and slaughterhouses are the main sources of organic pollution (PEM, 2004). A report from a study conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1999 emphasizes that the situation is even more critical with regard to hazardous wastes. In the said report, approximately 2,000 cubic meters of solvent wastes, 22,000 tons of heavy metals, infectious wastes, biological sludge, lubricants, and intractable wastes, as well as 25 million cubic meters of acid/alkaline liquid wastes are improperly disposed of annually in the Metro Manila area alone.
A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted in 2001 (as cited in National Economic Development Authority’s document on the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan 2004-2010) states that around 700 industrial establishments in the Philippines generate about 273,000 tons of hazardous wastes per annum. It was further estimated that with 5,000 potential hazardous waste generators, about 2.41 million tons of hazardous wastes will be generated. At present, the report added, there is no integrated treatment facility for hazardous wastes in the country although there are about 95 small to mediumscale treatment facilities that treat hazardous wastes (i.e., used oil, sludge).
There is approximately 50,000 tons of hazardous wastes stored on or offsite due to lack of proper treatment, recovery and recycling facilities. Sometimes they end up being recycled in backyard operations further putting at risk workers and communities hosting these informal recycling facilities. Other hazardous wastes are exported to other countries for recovery and disposal (i.e. metal bearing sludge, used solvents and electronic wastes) and treatment (e.g. PCB).
Health and environmental problems
Much of the surface water in urban areas is a public health risk while rural surface waters are also sources of disease. The World Bank estimates that exposure to water pollution and poor sanitation account for one-sixth of reported disease cases, and nearly 6,000 premature deaths per year. The cost of treatment and lost income from illness and death due to water pollution is pegged at PHP6.7 billion (US$134 million) per year (PEM 2006). Pollution of our water resources such as untreated wastewater discharges affect human health through the spread of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Some known examples of diseases that may be spread through wastewater discharge are gastro-enteritis, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, and, recently, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (PEM 2003). The state of water in the Philippines (Bacongui, Beau, 2007, October). Retrieved January 9, 2013, from http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/Global/seasia/report/2007/10/the-state-of-water-in-the-phil.pdf
Hazardous and toxic waste management
Republic Act 6969, implemented by DAO 29 series of 1992, regulates the range of activities associated with hazardous and toxic materials (use, transportation, storage, export, distribution, manufacture, and processing). Users or handlers of chemicals must first check with DENR whether the
substances are included in the Philippine Inventory of Chemicals and Chemical Substances (PICCS). A Chemical Control Order (CCO) prohibiting, limiting, or subjecting use to certain controls or conditions may be issued for chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to public health or the environment.
Environmental Impact Management System
An on-going innovation under the EIS system is the introduction of programmatic compliance. Under this program, industries sited in declared industrial development areas may be issued a single Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). This approach has the advantage of reducing the cost of document preparation and review. Furthermore, it justifies the future application of carrying capacity assessments to determine the number and types of industries that should be allowed to locate in a given area. Philippines: Country Profile. In Green Productivity Practices: In Select Industry Sectors. (Abanto, Arnel. 2001) Retrieved January 9, 2013, from http://www.apo-tokyo.org/gp/e_publi/gpp/0302PHILIPPINESrev.pdf
Water pollution creeping in – senator
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines faces a creeping water pollution problem because of rapid urbanization and industrialization, a senator warned over the weekend. Senator Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Health and Demography Committee, said she is worried that government has weakly-implemented programs to improve the quality of fresh water supply. Cayetano pointed out that inadequate resources, institutional fragmentation and poor statistics as the major stumbling blocks in achieving the goal of securing a sufficient future supply of clean fresh water. She said addressing this concern is in line with the Millennium Development Goal 7 for environment sustainability which is to reduce by one half, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources chairman, said the issue emphasizes the importance of reforesting the country’s denuded mountains.
Forests, Zubiri said, act as watersheds, storing and releasing fresh water through natural processes. In past Senate Committee hearings, testimonies on the country’s forest reserve being denuded at a fast clip the past few decades had been presented. Citing the Philippine Environment Monitor report of the World Bank in 2003, domestic wastewater represents 48 percent of the total pollution in the entire country; the rest is due to industrial and agricultural sources. In Metro Manila alone, the share of domestic sewage is 58 percent of the total. Because of insufficient sewage treatment and disposal, more than 90 percent of the sewage generated in the Philippines is not disposed or treated in an environmentally acceptable manner, Cayetano said.
The same report estimates that water pollution costs the Philippine economy an estimated P67 billion ($.3 billion) annually of which P3 billion is attributed to health, P17 billion to fisheries production and P47 billion to tourism. Cayetano pointed out that Department of Health (DoH) statistics show that approximately 18 people die each day from water-borne diseases, which accounted for 31 percent of all reported illnesses from 1996-2000. She said the Congressional Oversight Committee was created following the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 2004 and found out weaknesses in the enforcement of environmentally-related laws.
“There are too many hands dipping in the broth, so to speak. Around 30 government agencies are involved in the management of our water resources. The gaps, overlaps and conflicts of responsibilities are apparent during the conduct of our (committee) hearings, making the institutional framework highly fragmented, weak and complicated,’’ she said. Water pollution creeping in – senator (Casayuran, Mario. 2011, April) Retrieved January 9, 2013 from http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/312556/water-pollution-creeping-senator#.UO1KP-TwaSo
‘Water pollution a threat’
Gov’t not enforcing environment laws — SWS survey MANILA, Philippines . Five of every 10 Filipinos believe water pollution is a serious threat to their health and environment, but the government is unable to enforce environmental laws. Results of a survey of the Social Weather Stations released Friday also showed that at least three of every six residents of Metro Manila did not agree that pollution was an acceptable trade-off for economic progress. The SWS survey, a first on water pollution and enforcement of environmental laws, was commissioned by the environmental group Greenpeace as part of its Project: Clean Water program launched in September.
The initiative aims to mobilize action in protecting the country’s vast fresh water sources. A recent World Bank study warned of a possible water scarcity problem in the country by 2025. The survey from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 covered 1,200 randomly chosen adult respondents divided into samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We wanted to see how Filipinos perceive the problem because it is very hard to push for the implementation of environmental laws if the public accepts water pollution as an unavoidable consequence of economic development, said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner in a press conference Friday.
Half of the respondents said water pollution in the country was a very serious problem and posed great danger to their health and environment; 22 percent found it somewhat serious; nine percent, a little serious; and 19 percent, hardly serious. While growing concern for water pollution was noted among residents in urban areas, with 58 percent finding it unacceptable that economic progress should mean environmental destruction, some 48 percent said they were not aware of any laws enacted to help prevent pollution.
Among the environmental policies cited in the survey were the Clean Water Act and the Solid Waste Management Act. Out of the 1,200 respondents, 26 percent said they were familiar with the Clean Water Act; 27 percent were aware of the Solid Waste Management Act while 50 percent admitted not knowing about the laws. ‘Water pollution a threat’ (Uy, Jocelyn, 2008, January) Retrieved January 9, 2013 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/metro/view/20080126-114918/Water-pollution-a-threat
Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases 2000-2020 (Gleick, Peter, 2002, August) Retrieved from http://www.pacinst.org/reports/water_related_deaths/water_related_deaths_report.pdf
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