RP water problem caused by pollution not overpopulation – DENR chief

The chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources refuses to attribute the problem on water supply to the rapidly growing population in the country.

Instead, DENR Secretary Lito Atienza said the worsening pollution is the main threat to the country’s water supply as it deteriorates water quality and could thus affect potable water supply.

“Making people the problem will only lead us in the wrong direction… We might succeed in putting the wrong solution to the right problem and, as a result, create bigger problems,” Atienza said.

According to Atienza, the country actually still has an oversupply of water. He said that the country uses only 12 percent of its available supply annually.

His remark came after the recently published Asian Water Development Outlook 2007 of the Asian Development Bank warned of a possible water crisis in the country.

Atienza admitted that many of the country’s water bodies are polluted and can hardly be used for productive purposes.

Atienza said that because of this, the DENR is now prioritizing the cleanup of water bodies surrounding Metro Manila, including Pasig River, Laguna Bay and Manila Bay.

“We will transform these water bodies from being our biggest toilets to ones that will increase trade, commerce and fishery production, promote ecotourism and lead to urban renewal and development,” Atienza said.

Atienza also said that the government could strengthen its sustainable water management program by tapping local governments and communities.



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