Sunday, 25 December 2011

JP govt warned on people’s declining quality of life, ecological degradation

Crystal clear … children enjoy clear water at the beach in Baranggay Osmena in 2007. What had been a reality five years ago – clean and pleasant beach water – has now become just a dream after the same beach water and beach sand have been spoiled by silt and mud – a result of unregulated gold operations in a number of areas in Mambulao. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

Batch 65
Port Moresby

IN 2009, the municipal government of Jose Panganiban was given a warning on the declining quality of life of Mambulaoans and the degradation of the environment, particularly its farmlands, mountain sides, shorelines and coastal waters.

The report warned the municipal government that “every action or inaction corresponds to great benefits or serious problems in the future”.

The report urged the municipal government to act “now”, because the future of the next generation of Mambulaoans lies in the hands of the sitting government.

The warning, which was contained in a study on the state of development in Mambulao released in 2009, was prepared by the Local Government Performance Management System (LGPMS).

The report called e-SLDR or State of Local Development, Electronic Report was an “approximation of the state of socio-economic and environmental development in a locality”.
It explained that the result is “based on LGU self-assessment or estimates of key development indicators. National target, average and expert inference are used as benchmark”.

The MWBuzz has obtained a copy of the report.

Morning fish vendor … selling fish around Parang is one source of income for many mothers, thus they compete with one another for “suki”. But it is the only way to get by. This vendor says she marks up her ware by Php10 - a modest income from a capital of Php180 per kilo, and makes at least Php150 from her fish on days she’s selling. She gets her fish supply from a Parang-based fisherman. - MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ
e-SLDR declared that the state of health and nutrition of Mambulaoans was in appalling state.

It said: Maternal mortality rate was unbearable and infant mortality rate was high.

On education, the report said that “tertiary or technical education completion rate is very low.”
This had put the quality of human capital as an issue, it said.

The report had given a low mark on the municipality’s state of housing and basic utilities.
It said that the “prevalence of households with makeshift houses was extremely high.

Access to sanitary toilet facility was an inconvenience to a number of households.
It concluded that “health and sanitation is at stake”.

There were many unemployed in the municipality, thus unemployment was alarming and underemployment was high.

The report said that the income per capita was extremely low and poverty incidence in the municipality was “alarming”.

The magnitude of families living below poverty threshold was “too high”.

It also noted the decline of the municipality’s environment.

It said that “tree cover in urban areas falls short with the desirable condition. Therefore, air quality was at stake.

Taho kayo d’yan … peddling taho around Mambulao everyday, this man (left) makes at least Php300 from his ware, meeting his family’s daily needs. The job, he says, is better than doing nothing. – MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ

Polluting industries were present and the quality of air was at stake as well.

The “socio-economic and environment are inter-dependen"t, the report said.

“A healthy and good quality human resource (labor force) is a productive working force that breeds a healthy economy and one that recognizes the value of environmental quality.

“A well-managed economy sustains the productivity of natural endowment and the life support system needed to build a healthy society.

“Well-conserved natural resources provide communities with a sustainable source of livelihood and income and thus improve their economic welfare.

“Clean environment and good economy ensure the quality of life.”

The report had urged the municipal government to give the three sectors – health, human resource and environment – equal importance “to achieve a balanced and sustained development”.

Blue panorama … a pier at Baranggay Osmena. On a clear day five years ago, this was how the bay water would look. The same could not be said these days as the coastal water has turned brownish-yellowish and the beach muddy and silted – a result of indiscriminate gold operations in a number of areas in Mambulao. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
A portion of the Parang beach which has been inundated by community waste pollution. - MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ
The report had also stressed the inter-connection between poverty and environment.
It said: Low family income would impact on the education of children.

“Children may opt to work instead of going to school to help the family with the basic necessity such as food. Poor nutrition due to imbalance food intake may lead to many forms of illnesses or worse, even death.

The report pointed out that low income was a “hindrance in accessing shelter and basic utilities such as water, electricity and sanitary toilet facility”.

And because of this the difficulty in accessing water and sanitary toilet posed environmental and health problems.

On income, the report noted that low income may lead to illegal activities that impact on the integrity of the environment or social disharmony.

It said that the overriding motivation was survival.

“One example is illegal fishing,” the report said, such as the use of dynamite to increase fish catch.

While dynamite fishing may increase income, “it is not sustainable … what is irreversible is the destruction of coastal habitat.”
An abandoned gold-panning site in baranggay Sta. Elena has left the former farm devastated. – Photo courtesy of ellan5 website.
 The reports revealed the impacts of illegal fishing to socio-economic and environmental dimensions.
“Illegal fishing,” it said, “destroys marine life which contributed to the loss of seaweed beds, tidal marshes, coral reefs, mangrove forests, and other important biotic communities.”

The loss of important marine organism has an impact on marine nutrient imbalances leading to the decline of fish resources, as well as degeneration of the natural resilience or cleansing ability of marine ecosystems which, later on, would result to serious marine pollution.”

The report had warned that the livelihoods of fisherfolks and food security were issues that would crop up because of declining fish resources.

Marine pollution definitely affects the biodiversity and marine ecosystem health, including the marine ecosystem services.

Pag-Asa beach. Photo courtesy of Jimmy069  website

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