Water Pollution Has No Politics

Manila Bulletin, January 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

Water Pollution Has No Politics


(Editor’s note: Water or air pollution is one subject not discussed in TV, radio and newspaper ads of politicians as noted by the author.)Of the thousands of candidates for national and local offices in May, not three or five of them ever “wasted” a few minutes to discuss air and water pollution as factors that could lead to various diseases, illnesses, and fatal results.Safe or clean?In Third World countries – RP is one of them – getting safe drinking water is a major problem, especially in the countryside where run-off from heavy rain or untreated water from shallow wells is viewed as undeniably safe and clean.The first proven environmental cause of illness was water pollution. In England, a famous demonstration by physician John Snow in 1854 showed that removing the handle of a water pump could reduce the incidence of cholera by depriving people living near a contaminated well from using the water.TreatmentChlorine used for water purification was already known at that time, and by the 20th century, most major cities in the US provided treated water. RP’s national population now is about 93M living in 44,000-plus barangays. There is no clear showing by health authorities that most or all of us are drinking clean and safe water.Pollution contributorsIndustrialization has contributed to water pollution such as: 1) mining pollutes water supply, 2) industrial water pollution, 3) pollution from oil wells, 4) use of artificial fertilizers, 5) unrestricted use of pesticides, and 6) concentration of animal wastes.Rural scenes years ago – as now – were popular subjects for paintings showing pretty Filipinas washing from shallow and open wells near a shallow river or creek (sapa). The same creek or estero is also the source of drinking water for adults and children without benefit of treatment or boiling.Expensive but...Groundwater pollution is especially difficult to remedy. Almost all solutions are expensive and, in many cases, not feasible at any price. …

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