By Dave Salvatiera
Due to increasing temperature, typhoons have frequented Luzon in recent years and have affected areas near Laguna De Bay. It has caused an increase in the water level. The effects of climate change go beyond heavy rainfall. It can also damage ecosystems that service livelihood and human wellbeing. Typhoons have been frequenting Luzon in recent years due to increasing temperature and have affected areas such as Laguna De Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines. However, the impact goes beyond the increase in the water level in the lake. Water pollution in the lake is still evident, and it has affected the economy and the environment. These concerns warrant rehabilitation and a call for action.
Laguna Lake, commonly known as Laguna de Bay, is an inland freshwater lake that serves as a source of food and income for the surrounding provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, and Metro Manila. The livelihood of communities found in the areas has been heavily affected as the lake suffered water pollution the past few years.
Communities surrounding the lake commonly have fishing as their livelihood. With the pollution in the lake, these fishermen and vendors are the most affected population. Businesses in the communities are extremely distressed because of the dirty water caused by pollutants from community wastes, industrial chemicals, and several bacteria.
Laguna Lake also experienced several fish kills earlier this year as a result of the increasing numbers of ‘liya’ or freshwater green algae. According to the locals, the growth of algae helps the fish to grow but the excessive growth affected the oxygen levels and water quality.
Aside from the economic aftermath of water pollution, certain studies conducted at specific tributaries of the lake encouraged the rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay. Attempts of rehabilitation, however, ended up getting delayed in the previous years.
In a study of scientists from the University of the Philippines, there are harmful pollutants found in different parts of Laguna Lake that are threats to water safety and to human health.
The pollutants in the lake are largely caused by human activities. Residents living in the area say these usually come from community wastes and chemicals from factories.
Locals stated that the water quality of the lake before is extremely different from its current state. Some have even admitted that their residential wastes go straight to the water. The results of the long-term effects of water pollution became a sign to take action.
Local governments had striven to assist Laguna Lake’s recovery. The LGUs implemented different programs and created organizations. One of them is the ‘Bantay Lawa’ that helps the provincial government of Laguna in preserving the water quality of the lake.
Furthermore, if water pollution cannot be prevented, it may also lead to bigger environmental problems such as global warming. As reported by several studies about water pollution, wastewater isn’t only just a threat to humankind but may also contribute to climate change.
The livelihood of communities near the lake is affected by contamination. If this trend continues to “flow” for the lake—these small problems will eventually become big economic and environmental problems in the future.
This article was written and prepared by Dave Salvatiera (Student-Journalist) and Vanessa de Leon (School Paper Adviser) from Pulo National High School, Division of Cabuyao City, as a final output of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.
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