Environmental risks in the Consolacion recovery project
“Why are they desperate to move forward with a project that will destroy the environment and harm their constituents? “
More than 80 civil society groups recently called on government agencies to stop rushing approval of rehabilitation projects for fear it would destroy the environment and result in the loss of livelihoods of vulnerable stakeholders. such as fishermen. Some notable planned reclamation projects that have been mentioned include the 174 hectare project in Dumaguete city and the 230 hectare project in Consolacion, Cebu. Of the ongoing rehabilitation projects, the Dumaguete one has recently attracted the most media attention. On the one hand, Senator Risa Hontiveros called for an investigation into the project, fearing that stakeholders had not been sufficiently consulted. Among those who have expressed their opposition to the project are the diocese and a national scientist. Indeed, it is good for the public to speak out on the dangers of the Dumaguete upgrading project. However, we must not overlook how the planned reclamation project at Consolacion will harm the environment. Consolacion deputy mayor Teresa Alegado said the LGU has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine Salvage Authority. However, an obstacle remains insofar as an environmental certificate is required for the project to move forward. The environmental certificate should not be handed over to LGU and La Consolacion Seafront Development Corporation due to glaring flaws in the project. Reclamation projects naturally involve a massive dumping of land in the affected area. For Consolacion’s salvage project, the amount of materials needed is not only huge, it is impossible to obtain. According to calculations, the LGU and LCSDC would need 1.6 million trucks transporting sand and gravel to Consolacion. Each truck is expected to carry 13.5 cubic meters of backfill material, which is the maximum amount allowed under Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regulations. Assuming a highly unlikely scenario that they could find 1.6 million trucks to do so, that means the LMU and LCSDC would be heavily dependent on quarrying to procure the backfill materials they need. However, quarrying presents an inherent environmental risk in that there is an increased risk of flooding for communities where quarrying sites are located. The consolation itself is already prone to flooding, so the province will be even more vulnerable to stronger typhoons. It is also important to note that these civil society groups have criticized the respective LGUs for implementing reclamation projects, such as that of Consolacion, which destroy our natural resources such as mangroves, seagrass beds and grasslands. Coral reefs. “The Philippines is known as the center of marine biodiversity because it sits at the top of the Coral Triangle. However, that reputation may soon be lost with the wholesale approval of large-scale reclamation, rightly described as nationwide landfill and infill projects, ”groups like Tayud Fisherfolks Urban said. Poor Association. The loss of these natural resources will have major consequences for us. For example, research has shown that mangroves are excellent for mitigating the damage that heavy flooding causes to coastal communities. Losing them would mean that these communities would likely be destroyed in the event of typhoons. Overall, the fact that LGU de Consolacion is rushing on this project is at odds with calls from civil society groups for further consideration of the risks of reclamation projects. Why the need to rush the project? Is there an advantage in doing this? Would the LGU personally benefit from rushing through the required processes and approvals? Given the environmental risks of the Consolacion reclamation project, a call to action is issued to the general public, the media and government agencies responsible for approvals. For the PRA, there must be questions as to why it even agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the LGU. Although MOUs are different from a MOU in that the latter signifies prior approval, acceptance of the MOU implies that it approves the project despite the obvious environmental risks present. The same question should also be asked of Consolacion LGU officials: Why are they desperate to move forward on a project that will destroy the environment, thereby harming their constituents through events such as larger flooding? For the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the environmental certificate should never be issued unless these environmental risks have been sufficiently taken into account. Journalists are important if we want everyone to know how dangerous Project Consolacion is. And finally, for the general public, we need to make our voices heard, whether through social media or on the streets, to voice the dangers of the reclamation project. Government agencies should know and feel that once they have given their approval, this is a decision they would surely regret as it would directly cause harm to the communities of Consolacion.
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