For the first time, Water Patrol runs an expedition starting from a heavily polluted river in Metro Manila, the Marikina River. This expedition travels 85 kilometers for 3 weeks this September aiming to examine and document sources of toxic pollution from Marikina River to Laguna Lake.
Together with community-based organizations, Buklod Tao and Samahang Magadalo, we launched the expedition along with 30 activists in twelve boats paddling downstream from Marikina River. On our first day, we investigated and documented potential toxic pollution hotspots along Calumpang, Marikina.
Here's a good summary of the launch:
Why are we doing this?
This initiative is part of our campaign to protect our freshwater sources by calling on the government to require factories to disclose what chemical wastewater they discharge into our rivers. Hundreds of thousands of chemicals are being released into the environment everyday, most are through pipes that discharge wastewater into rivers and lakes. We may be aware that our rivers are heavily polluted but we are unaware of exactly what chemicals are polluting these water bodies and the risk they pose to our environment and our health because only a fraction of these chemicals have been tested. Our government has no exact data of what these chemicals are, and how much end up in our waterways. Communities along our rivers and lakes bear the brunt of these toxic discharges which can ultimately contaminate our source of drinking water.
That is why we have been urging the DENR to institute a Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry (PRTR) policy and implement more stringent water pollution laws to mandate industrial facilities to publicly declare the chemicals used in their products and manufacturing processes, and state how these chemicals are discharged, treated and transported. This will make facilities choose not to use hazardous chemicals and be mindful of the wastes they discharge into the water bodies.
Making pollution data available to the public is an important first step to stop pollution. Preventing toxic pollution is the most appropriate approach for sound industrial development. Preventive measures of water pollution are urgently needed in the Philippines.
Through our water patrol program, we will continue to build the capacity of communities to get involved in pollution monitoring. Greenpeace cannot do this alone. We need everyone to collectively do their share in ensuring that any form of pollution is stopped in their own communities.
You can do the first step by signing our petition to push the government to speed up the elimination of hazardous chemicals and set up a pollution disclosure system.
True enough, an informed and involved public is our strongest ally in an effort to better protect both the environment and human health.