THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is committed to help the government in its initiative to rehabilitate and restore Laguna Lake to its “original and pristine condition” by reducing the number of fish pens in the lake and reducing its pollutants.
Felipe Gozon, director for Environment and Climate Change of PCCI, said on Monday his group welcomes the decision of the government to suspend the issuance of fishing permits for Laguna Lake.
This move will help the government properly re-allocate the use of the lake according to its carrying capacity and help the government get rid of illegal fish pens, he said.
Gozon cited a recent report published by the Laguna Lake Development Authority titled Pilot Ecosystem Account for Laguna de Bay Basin which indicates that the major contributor of pollution remains to be domestic wastes.
The lake’s aggregate surface area is about 900 square kilometers or 90,000 hectares. Of this, 10 percent or 9,000 hectares may be allocated for aquaculture, but in 2016, there were about 12,000 hectares of fish pens in the lake.
According to the report, 81 percent of the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load comes from domestic wastes, while the rest of the load comes from industry (9 percent), agriculture (5 percent), and solid wastes (3 percent).
The report also indicates that treating household discharges holds much potential for improving the water quality of the Laguna de Bay.
Restoring the pristine condition of the water quality of the lake will also help the local community increase their livelihood.
Gozon recalls that in the past, there abounded in the lake freshwater snails (suso) that were used as feeds for the ducks that were raised in the backyards of the houses adjacent to the river and that tasty freshwater catfish (kanduli) were numerous in the lake and the Pasig River.
Gozon added that business, being one of the stakeholders of the lake, behooves the PCCI to want to be part of the process of developing a master plan for Laguna Lake.