Letters to the Editor

Priority: Environment

The Philippine Star

The incoming government has not just a full plate but a platter brimming over with problems that must be attended to immediately… if not sooner.

COVID is still with us, and complacency with health protocols is as serious a threat as any new variant that may emerge to bring about another surge. The economy is slowly – hopefully surely, too – recovering, people are going out more, eating out more and tourists are coming in again, but the economic engine needs a lot more steam to get it to running at pre-pandemic levels. Students in all levels have a lot of catching up to do after two years in front of screens often with spotty internet connection, away from classrooms, away from teachers and classmates and science labs and gyms.

One item that I hope will also be at the top of the new government’s agenda will be the environment – climate change, resilience in the face of changing patterns of natural phenomena like heat, drought, extreme rainfall, typhoons…

We can’t control nature, of course, but we can control how we react. We keep talking about building back better, but we seem to be facing the same problems and issues each time a storm hits. Residents return to areas prone to flooding and storm surges, houses rebuilt are not storm-resistant (there are actually designs that are not only sturdy but also inexpensive, functional and look nice).

Trees are still being cut in watersheds and mountainsides, causing landslides and flooding. Rivers are polluted and heavily silted; in urban areas they are giant garbage dumpsites, despite repeated efforts to clean them up and endless reminders for people not to dump their trash into the waterways.

And speaking of garbage, when are we going to get serious about waste reduction – zero waste, recycling, re-using, upcycling? These are simple things each one of us can do, and if each one of us will do our part it will add up to something truly significant for our environment.

So hopefully the new government will make environment and climate change a top priority, and galvanize efforts in all sectors – and that includes you and me. – Dakila D. Ignacio, Bulacan


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