Complete 7 page APA formatted essay: Environmental Issues in the Pacific Islands.
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References will be made to other regions that have formulated and implemented successful environmental programs to serve as guidance in deducing viable environmental projects or programs for the country.
The Philippines now comprises of about 80 million people and the majority is found to be dwelling in urban areas. Among other Asian countries, the Philippines ranks as having one of the highest urbanized areas. The rapid increase in the population rate in general and in the urbanization rate in particular, has thus contributed much not only to resource depletion but also to the significant decrease in air and water quality levels. One of the direct results of this is the increase in the levels of waste generation. According to a World Bank study on Waste Generation (World Bank, 2001), the average Filipino generates around 0.3 to 0.7 kilograms of garbage daily depending on income levels. The highest waste-producing area is the National Capital Region, which accounts to 23% of the country’s production, or 1/4 of the country’s generation waste as a whole.
In a similar study in 2004, the World Bank found that around 2.2 million metric tons of organic pollution have been produced annually by domestic (48 percent), agricultural (37 percent), and industrial (15 percent) sectors. Out of the identified regions with critical water levels, domestic and industrial sources were determined to be the major water pollutants. Inadequate wastewater treatment has affected the health of the people, with the water having found to contain significant presence of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, making it unsuitable for drinking and even bathing. On a more macro level, this poor water quality threatens biodiversity, and deteriorates the quality of life. Diseases such as gastro-enteritis, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, and more recently, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have all been attributed to poor water quality. As such, the water-related death rates and health outbreaks have been reported to increase over the years. Despite all of these, however, awareness of the urgent need to improve overall sanitation and implement more effective water pollution control have remained very low, as reflected by the low prioritization given to sanitation and sewerage investments. As it is, only a small portion of the country’s population has access to sewer systems and decent sanitation facilities (World Bank, 2004).
The enactment and implementation of the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 which has led to the gradual phase out of leaded gasoline, has contributed much to the significant drop in the ambient lead levels. Despite this, however, other air pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxides and total oxidants remain in levels that exceed the standards and therefore are still considered a major concern. Industrialization and the growing population are seen to be the major contributors to this persistent problem. These air pollutants come from small and medium industries that use fossil fuels, with a high share of coal, as the main sources of industrial energy. Among these major air-polluting industries are those engaged in the use of iron, steel, fertilizer, and cement.