Environmental Protection and Flood Management

The disastrous inundation of a large part of Metro Manila by the recent typhoons has left behind vivid images of destruction of lives and property. It should serve as a grim reminder of an urgent need for a comprehensive system to cope with any future weather-related calamity. That we are visited by so many typhoons in a year is a fact of our national life. But the resulting damage can be mitigated with carefully studied and well- implemented human interventions. Such immediate knee-jerk reactions as dredging of rivers and creeks and the de-clogging of the drainage system are understandable and predictable. But what good is a dredging program if non-biodegradable waste materials are thrown into the waterways repeatedly? And what good is de-clogging of drainage arteries if the Solid Waste Management Act is not strictly implemented at the barangay level? These are nothing but short-lived solutions! Informal settlers living along river banks and esteros, who contribute to the clogging problem, have time and again been the target beneficiaries of the perennial relocation proposal. Identifying a relocation site is not enough. Here is where government and the private sector should work hand in hand to address this social concern. To be viable, the relocation site should have easy access to water and electricity. There should also be school facilities, medical clinics and livelihood opportunities. The beneficiaries as stakeholders should contribute time and labor in site beautification. They too must realize that they have something to share. Relocation work should be supplemented by a sustained community development program. Such a program should include values formation, leadership training for community leaders and imparting micro-entrepreneurial skills. There are NGO’s in a position to help. Since Laguna Bay and the Pasig River and its tributaries are the major components of a flood mitigation program, their continuous dredging is necessary. To reduce the level of siltation in the lake due to soil erosion, any ongoing tree planting program should be expanded not only on the mountain range that sends excess water to the lake, but also all other mountain ranges of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The whole idea is the re-greening of our mountains in order to increase significantly their rain absorptive capacity. The net effect is an improvement on the subterranean water level and the prevention of huge volume of water rushing from the mountains. Indeed, there is a direct correlation between environmental protection and flood management. When we take good care of our environment, we are able to minimize the impact of floods.

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One Response to Environmental Protection and Flood Management

  1. Pingback: The Role of Forests « Hectic Capiznon Bloggers 2009

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