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Cebu News

Neric: Pursue dev’t with ecology in mind

Grace Melanie L. Lacamiento - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippine Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection reminded Cebuanos yesterday not to leave ecology behind in their pursuit of economic advancement.

Secretary Neric Acosta, principal author of Republic Act 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004), said there is nothing wrong in aiming for economic development so long as it does not imperil the ecosystem.

He said that like Manila, Cebu is also a critical urban growth area in the country due to its being the central hub for jobs, investments, tourism, growing population, and other economic activities in the Visayas region.

“We are not anti-business but, in the name of progress, you cannot have economy without the basis of ecology. Without land, air, water and sun, we will not have economy,” he said.

Acosta was one of the speakers in a forum on improving water quality through wastewater management conducted by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

He said for instance that Cebu, which is supposed to be a modern metropolis, still practices open burning of garbage, which is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

He further expressed concern over water security in Cebu, saying that though it is a major economic area and an island ecosystem, it does not have a real watershed or a long-term and sustainable source of water.  He said every water district must provide water and manage water resources ecologically at the same time.

He also raised concern over the management of wastes from hotels, resorts, and piggeries, which reach the ocean and pollute bodies of water.

He said that indiscriminate disposal of wastes is one of the main reasons why water quality in the country has degraded.

Acosta likewise said dumping of organic wastes into any body of water results to competition for dissolved oxygen among marine species, especially fish, which could affect food security.

He recommended sewage collection, treatment and disposal. He further suggested the need to do coastal clean-ups every weekend.

He said that Section 8 of RA 9275 requires the connection of existing sewage line found in subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments, including households, to available sewerage systems.

The law, he said, also requires owners or operators of facilities that discharge regulated effluents to secure a permit to discharge.

Acosta encouraged the public to learn to understand, value, and protect their ecosystem at the height of urbanization.

“This is a critical emergency for the country. Think ecologically not egoistically. The Clean Water Act protects more than water. It’s about life,” he said. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ACOSTA CEBU CLEAN WATER ACT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PHILIPPINE CLEAN WATER ACT PHILIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER RAMON ABOITIZ FOUNDATION INC REPUBLIC ACT SECRETARY NERIC ACOSTA WATER
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