RP Reaching Tipping Point in Environmental Quality; Seven-Point Program Bared

Article excerpt

Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Angelo T. Reyes warned yesterday that the Philippine environment has been severely damaged, endangering human, animal and plant habitations, as he bared a sevenpoint program to enhance the environment for present and future generations.

Warning that the Philippines, along with some countries, have already reached the "tipping point" in environmental quality, Reyes appealed to the private sector to join the government in a "solid partnership against the vandals" who desecrate the environment for private profit.

"Good environment is good economics," he stressed.

In a speech to the membership meeting of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Reyes said that almost all sectors of the Philippine environment, embracing air, sea and land, have been polluted and degraded, making the country "one of the hotspots where biodiversity is most threatened and endangered species are increasing by 9.7 percent annually.

In confronting acute environmental problems, Reyes listed seven priority sectors that are deemed "strategic and require more focus" by both the government and the private sector. These are:

1. Air and water pollution. "Key urban centers in the country, especially Makati, Valenzuela, Manila and Pasay fall far short of the appropriate standards for health and about 70 percent of the pollution is caused by vehicular emissions." Water quality is in an unhealthy state, with 16 major rivers "biologically dead," seven of them in Metro Manila, especially the Pasig river.

2. Full enforcement of the Solid Waste Management Act to close all 794 open and 304 controlled dump sites and shift to sanitary landfill, otherwise the garbage problem will worsen, endangering public health. …