Metro Cebu’s air and water polluted – USC

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MULTI-sectoral coordination is needed to improve the air and water quality of Metro Cebu.

This was emphasized during yesterday’s forum which presented research findings on air and water quality in Metro Cebu in a study conducted by professors of the department of chemistry of the University of San Carlos.

Water samples from Guadalupe, Mahiga, Butuanon downstream and upstream rivers are highly polluted, according to a study on the Physicochemical Evaluation and Toxicity Risk Assessment of Urban Rivers of Metro Cebu.

In one of the tests, juvenile Tilapia fish were placed in water samples taken from each river.

In all the tests, the fish died.

In air pollution, USC’s Josephine Castañares said that 70 percent comes from mobile sources including taxis and other public utility vehicles. Only 20 percent come from fixed sources like industries.

Major pollutants monitored were carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.

Where before 80 percent of the volume of wastes in rivers came from domestic sources like households, today it’s down to 50 percent. The other 50 percent comes from industrial sources.

While the study was a short-term project, USC professors urged the Cebu City government to plant more trees and increase vegetation around the city to absorb high volumes of carbon dioxide in the air.

Castanaers said the city needs to take major steps to address air and water pollution.

In her response, Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera welcomed the research data as basis for policy direction.

“There must be coordination between the LGU, academe and business sector. We should not argue, instead we must come up with a unified vision,” said Francis Philip Escalante of the Environmental Impact Assessment Division of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-7.

Lesley Comiso-Magalso of the Cebu Academe Network (CAN) said her group is willing to help conduct an information drive about air and water quality in Metro Cebu.

CAN was formed in 2010 to unite colleges and universities in the campaign to save Cebu City’s rivers.

“With the coming APEC meeting in 2015 and the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016, we need to have a higher standard and quality for our air and water,” said Randy Navarro, acting head of Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

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