Water Patrol

Page - September 28, 2010
Clean water is a right that should be enjoyed by everyone. Today, however, this right is being violated by industrial activities that destroy the country's freshwater ecosystems and threaten our health. The chemical crisis and climate change will further worsen the availability of, and access to, clean water. Greenpeace fights the changing climate and aims to save our water resources through a Clean production revolution.

What we're doing

Just a few decades ago, the thought of water shortages in a water-rich tropical country like the Philippines seemed far-fetched, but with the combined impacts of the chemical crisis and climate change, that once far-fetched notion has already become a reality.

Unfettered industrial development, coupled with poor pollution prevention policies, have contributed to the steady decline in the quality of the country's freshwater resources. The Philippine Environment Monitor (PEM) says that the country's water availability per capita per year is the second lowest in all of Southeast Asia. Water pollution, climate change, land use changes, and fragmented water policies are expected to worsen the water crisis. Experts further predict that by 2025, certain major river basins in the country -- particularly in Luzon and in the Visayas -- will experience a lack of available water.

It is against the backdrop of this looming crisis that Greenpeace’s Project Clean Water was developed.

What is Project Clean Water?  

Project Clean Water is a Greenpeace campaign that aims to provide a platform for public engagement on water issues. Greenpeace hopes that this will bring people together toward the common goal of protecting our water resources.

The vision behind Project Clean Water is for the organization to work hand in hand with a broad range of audiences that include consumers, local communities, academic institutions, decision-makers and others to ensure that our people’s right to clean water and a healthful ecology is respected. One of the components of Project Clean Water is the Water Patrol, a team of dedicated volunteers that investigate and report on water pollution cases within the country.

Our Work So Far:

Since its launch in 2007, the Water Patrol has borne witness to and reported on the nitrate contamination of groundwater from vegetable farms in Benguet and volatile organic chemicals from the electronics industry in the Cavite Economic Zone.

In 2008, it exposed the continued operation of dumpsites around the Laguna Lake -- including that of the Angono dump – which were in violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (ESWMA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) . This prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a warning to local government units around the lake to close down these dumps or face sanctions.

This year, Greenpeace continued to monitor and expose water pollution cases in the mass media. In October, Greenpeace, along with our partner non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs), helped to expose the unfettered dumping of post-Ondoy waste and debris into the Nangka River in Marikina. As a result, the DENR immediately ordered the local government of Marikina to institute mitigating measures for the Nangka River. The Marikina government was also ordered to clear all the debris from the river.

Also in the same month, Greenpeace investigated a toxic spill in Cavite upon learning that more than seventy (70) community members were hospitalized for coming into contact with the toxins. The spill was was traced back to the Cleanway Techology Corporation. Greenpeace plugged the company’s discharge pipe, took water samples from the pipes for testing, and joined the community’s picket line at the company’s gates. Several of our partner NGOs also joined the protests. As a result, Cleanway’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has committed to a full disclosure of all wastes stored, treated, handled and the chemicals that may have been released in October. The company has also asked for time to correct their operational lapses.

How you can help: Join the Water Patrol!

Greenpeace relies on its dedicated team of staff, supporters and volunteers in order to safeguard our country’s water quality.

When you sign up for the Water Patrol, you can become part of a team that monitors and documents pollution hotspots and participates in cyber actions and legislative lobbies. These activities aim to inform and educate decision makers like politicians, media and the general public to make enlightened choices for the future of our country and our planet.