Population in the Philippines
The Philippines is home to more than 90 million people as of 2013. Overpopulation and industrialization could perhaps be the major contributors to environmental problems being experienced in the country. With overpopulation and industrialization, our natural resources have a higher demand than supply. Our country is rich in natural resources. We have abundant gold, copper, sulphur, and nickel reserves. We are also surrounded by waters due to our archipelagic state which makes us one of the top fish producing countries in the world.
Our vast forests also house a lot of plants and trees which help prevent or decrease the amount of flood in our lands. However, in just a short amount of time, our country’s natural resources are quickly diminishing due to environmental problems experienced in the Philippines. Here are some of the major environmental problems in our country today. Deforestation Towards the end of the 20th century, the country’s forest cover dropped from 70% down to just 20%. From 1934 – 1988, almost 9. 8 million hectares of our forest were destroyed. At 2000, we had 600,000 hectares of old growth forest left.
Population in the Philippines Essay Example
With massive deforestation, lots of species are also endangered. More than 400 plants and animals are currently threatened with extinction including the dugong, tamaraw, and the Philippine eagle. Deforestation also contributes to soil erosion, disruption of the water cycle, and massive flood and drought. Another major cause of deforestation is the practice of kaingin by most Filipino farmers. The Kaingin System is the slashing and burning of forest trees and vegetation in order to convert them to agricultural lands or pasture for livestock.
Seeds left over at the area are burned so there is no more chance for these seeds to grow into trees. In 2010, farmers from Isabela who practice kaingin have destroyed 20 hectares of forest which would then be planted with coconut seedlings. This type of practice contributes to soil erosion and the ultimate collapse of the environment within the area which would lead to poor air quality and habitat loss for animals. Air Pollution With increasing human activity, air pollution is worsened. It was reported in 2013 that public utility vehicles, mostly jeepneys, produce 22,000 metric tons of soot emissions per year.
More than half a million diesel fuelled jeepneys, trucks, buses, and other private vehicles contribute to about 70% of the total soot or black carbon emissions in the Philippines. Aside from vehicles, open disposal facilities greatly contribute to global warming for they become an large source of greenhouse gas emissions. About 1000 dumpsites, open and controlled, exist in the entire Philippines. Studies show that dumpsites comprise 34% of human-related methane emissions to the atmosphere. Methane is more harmful than carbon dioxide in a way that it has 23 times more heat trapping power.
Air pollutants such as “dioxins” and “furans” are two of the most common emitted pollutants in our country. These two chemicals are the byproducts of incomplete combustion of household garbage. These chemicals have a serious impact on the environment and in public health. These chemicals may be deposited in leafy plants and could possibly be eaten by farm animals and fish. The chemical “dioxin” accumulates in fatty tissues and is passed into humans via consumption of animal products such as egg, dairy, fish, and meat.
In 2012, The DENR signed a deal that aims to ban backyard burning. Water Pollution Bodies of water in our country are polluted by toxic industrial waste and sewage that is directly dumped without proper treatment into these bodies. Just 10% of the total sewage in the Philippines is treated and disposed in an environmentally safe manner. As of 2013, The Manila Bay, which is the country’s most polluted body of water, contains a mixture domestic sewage, toxic industrial effluents from factories and shipping operations, leachate from garbage dumps, and runoff from chemical agriculture.
These pollutants produce a high level of fecal coliform, and presence of heavy metals, pesticides, and excess feeds in the water. Damages of the water contamination reach up to 4 billion pesos yearly, mostly in fisheries, exports and mortality costs due to waterborne diseases. Major river systems in the country such as the Pasig River contain a load of oil slicks and lots of floating garbage and feces which results to a dark colored water and an unpleasant odor.
High levels of organic loads, heavy metals, phosphates, nitrates, and pesticides degrade the quality of the water of the Pasig river, as well as other rivers in the Philippines due to the continuing industrialization of our nation which began during the post-World War II period. Lots of coastal areas are affected by the “red tide” phenomenon wherein our bodies of water change in color due to high algal biomass or concentration of algae. The most harmful algae produce red tide toxin which is carried by shellfishes.
When these shellfishes are consumed by humans, there is a huge risk of paralytic, diarrheic, and amnesic shellfish poisoning. Red tide also causes a lot of economic damage apart from health and environmental problems. In 2013, the BFAR has raised a red tide alert on the coasts of Bataan due to high contamination of the toxin. Illegal Mining Our country is rich in minerals such as mercury, gold, copper, and nickel which attracts both local and international miners to come to our country. The most controversial mining issue is in the island of Palawan. There are 429 mining claims and applications that threaten Palawan’s protected zones.
These zones include 17 key biodiversity areas, 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, numerous watersheds, endemic flora and fauna and home of indigenous tribes. Palawan mining has caused destructions of its virgin forests and siltation of water sources. These events have pushed local farmers and Palawenos to cry for help for their land. Mining also contributes to air pollution due to the release of greenhouse gases such as methane from mine explosions and water pollution due to contamination of water which increases its salinity. The contamination of the water comes from toxic leftover chemical deposits.