Editorial: Valuing our ecosystem

DURING a clean-up drive, which was initiated by the office of Davao City First District Representative Paolo Duterte along the banks of Davao River on Thursday, October 3, Barangay 1-A volunteers discovered plastics with feces that were thrown into the area.

Davao City Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte said during her privilege speech on October 1 that there is an "overwhelming" level of coliform at Davao River's mouth.

She said the river reached a level of 920,000 most likely number of microorganisms per 100 milliliters of coliform in September this year, according to data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).

Villafuerte said with the level of coliform in the river, it is not safe for drinking.

Meanwhile, according to the Contingent Valuation of the Pawikan Sanctuary, a study of the University of Mindanao (UM), it showed that Dabawenyos displayed lesser economic value for the marine sanctuary.

"The low economic valuation can be due to limited awareness of the public on the roles that plants and animals play in maintaining a balanced ecosystem suitable for the sanctuary of the turtles," said Dr. Milton Medina, UM Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Research and a Biologist.

The study, which looks into the marine sanctuary of sea turtles, is part of the Urban Biodiversity Project implemented by the University of Mindanao in partnership with San Pedro College (SPC), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Davao Oriental College of Science and Technology (DOCST) with funding support from the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) under the Discovery-Applied Research and Extension (Dare) program.

In a SunStar Davao report on October 3, 2019, Dr. Maria Linda Arquiza, vice-president of the University of Mindanao Research and Publication Center, said the result of the study is alarming.

"The trouble with a low economic value is it reflects the low appreciation of the marine sanctuary. The public has the impression that for as long as there are turtles in the nesting place, they see no need to worry about, that there is nothing to worry about climate change, about pollution," she said.

Arquiza underscored the need to educate the Dabawenyos on the importance of marine ecosystems.

Chinkee Pelino-Golle, executive director of Interfacing Development Interventions, said: "We should realize that everything in the environment is connected."

It is sad that we are failing as a society as we continue to disregard the importance of the environment around us. With how things are, there seem to be much inaction to preserve and conserve the environment.

For some reason, many continue to disregard the warnings and alerts raised by environmental advocates as we continue to pollute our surroundings.

We should act fast while we can still implement immediate solutions and save the environment.


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