Troubled lake continues to decline despite current efforts, studies show
THE Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) has called for a reassessment of policy and further research to improve the condition of Laguna Lake, saying that its studies have shown the health of the nation’s largest body of fresh water is still deteriorating despite current efforts.
“Funding in the area of policy assessment and researches on destructive fish species can go a long way,” said Joselito A. Carteciano, project leader and co-organizer of Lake Ecosystem Assessment in the Philippines.
Carteciano said studies have shown that “fish quality is the recurring major issue of the fisheries sector in Laguna de Bay.” Among the major causes of the decline in fish quality are the waste accumulation from households, industries, and factories; the settlements’ construction and urbanization; and climate change.
Current studies show that the lake is getting worse despite the intended measures of policy, relevant institutions, programs, and new regulations, he added, saying that this shows there is a need to assess the relevance of existing policies and measures. There is a need, for instance, to review the extent of implementation of regulations, identify the stumbling blocks, and determine proper course of actions for the lake to get better and not worse for the next 20-50 years, according to DOST-NRCP’s recommended course of action, he explained.
“Another area where government can help is through information campaigns,” said Marieta B. Sumagaysay, executive director of DOST-NRCP. “We have a pool of environmental, fish, climate, and agriculture experts whom we can tap to help in the information campaign at the barangay or municipal level.”
DOST-NRCP has about 4,000 S&T research members nationwide.
The research head recalled that former general manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority Nereus Acosta described the condition of the lake in a forum as recently as November 2016 by saying, “Laguna Lake is on the verge of a coronary attack.”
Although efforts such as the large-scale removal of commercial fish pens beginning in April have been undertaken, the NRCP said the lake still is confronted with critical problems such as flood hazards, denuded sub-watersheds, deteriorating water quality, and conflicts in water use.