EcoWaste Coalition urges poll bets to include water-related programs

Published March 21, 2019, 2:38 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Chito Chavez

An environmental group urged party-list groups and political aspirants running in the May 13, 2019 mid-term elections to vividly expound their platforms further on how the country can avoid another water shortage and steps they would take to ensure the public’s sufficient access to safe and clean water.

Residents of Addition Hills in Madaluyong City, queue to receive water distributed on water tank truck and fire trucks on March 15, 2019.(Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Residents of Addition Hills in Madaluyong City, queue to receive water distributed on water tank truck and fire trucks on March 15, 2019.(Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

The recent water crisis in areas covered by Manila Water in the east zone section of Metro Manila and other concession areas have raised howls of protests as water interruption has lasted as long as 20 hours.

In Mandaluyong City, long queues were formed as affected families have to endure lining up to the water delivery trucks provided by Manila Water as the locality went waterless for several days.

Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition stressed the importance of having legislative champions who will take up the cudgels for water resources preservation and protection as Congressional and Senate hearings were held to determine the root cause of water shortage issue.

The group’s plea for water champions coincided with the observance of World Water Day on March 22, which focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 6 that calls to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

“The campaign period offers an opportunity for aspiring politicians for national and local elective posts to inform the voting public about their platforms for clean water,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Our water resources are threatened by plastic and chemical pollution, rapid urbanization, declining forests, diminishing watersheds, climate change, and ever-increasing demand for water,” she added.

Lucero noted that “holistic policies and measures to deal with these threats are urgently needed to turn the tide and guarantee access to adequate and safe water of present and future generations.”

As this year marks the 15th anniversary of Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed for greater action to protect the country’s fragile water resources from further degradation with focus on pollution prevention at source.

Republic Act 9275, signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 22, 2004, applies to water quality management in all water bodies, particularly on abatement and control of pollution from land based sources.

“We hope candidates and parties will support the strengthening of RA 9275 through the integration of a framework of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from factories, farms, and households,” Lucero said.

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that candidates and parties will weigh in on some of the raging water-related issues, including, but not limited to the following:

• Production of single-use plastics, especially as packaging for fast-moving consumer goods, that end up polluting the rivers and the world’s oceans;

• Use of plastic microbeads as ingredient in cosmetic and cleansing products that contribute to microplastic pollution in water and marine life;

• Discharge of chemical pollutants and other wastes from industrial, agricultural, and household sources into waterways and water bodies;

• Shrinking forests and watersheds due to deforestation, illegal logging, mining, urbanization, and construction of large dams, etc.; and

• Continued operation of garbage dumpsites, especially in ecologically-sensitive areas, including Manila Bay.