A waste and pollution watch group urged candidates and parties for the 2019 midterm elections to enlighten the electorate about their positions on raging water issues and the steps they will take if elected to ensure people’s access to clean water.
Following the Congressional and Senate hearings on the water shortage that tormented consumers in certain parts of Metro Manila and Rizal, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed the importance of having legislative champions who will take up the cudgels for water resources preservation and protection.
The group’s plea for water champions coincided with the observance of World Water Day on March 22, which focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
“The campaign period offers an opportunity for aspiring politicians for national and local elective posts to inform the voting public about their platforms for clean water,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Our water resources are threatened by plastic and chemical pollution, rapid urbanization, declining forests, diminishing watersheds, climate change and ever increasing demand for water,” she said.
“Holistic policies and measures to deal with these threats are urgently needed to turn the tide and guarantee access to adequate and safe water of present and future generations,” she added.
As this year marks the 15th anniversary of Republic Act 9275, or the Clean Water Act, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed for greater action to protect the country’s fragile water resources from further degradation with focus on pollution prevention at source.
RA 9275, signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 22, 2004, applies to water quality management in all water bodies, particularly on abatement and control of pollution from land based sources.
“We hope candidates and parties will support the strengthening of RA 9275 through the integration of a framework of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from factories, farms and households,” Lucero said.
The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that candidates and parties will weigh in on some of the raging water-related issues, including, but not limited to the following :
--- Production of single-use plastics, especially as packaging for fast-moving consumer goods, that end up polluting the rivers and the world’s oceans;
--- Use of plastic microbeads as ingredient in cosmetic and cleansing products that contribute to microplastic pollution in water and marine life;
--- Discharge of chemical pollutants and other wastes from industrial, agricultural, and household sources into waterways and water bodies;
--- Shrinking forests and watersheds due to deforestation, illegal logging, mining, urbanization, and construction of large dams, etc.; and
--- Continued operation of garbage dumpsites, especially in ecologically-sensitive areas, including Manila Bay .