LAST week, Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM) reported that heavy siltation from mining operations in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental has caused a decline in fish catch in the area.

“Sa pag abot aning mining, didto na nag sugod ang problema sa among paningabuhi (Our problems started when the mining operations began). Tungod kay kining ulan, pagkusog sa ulan na nag baha, nilubog kini tungod sa ilahang gibungkag na gihimo og klsada sa ibabaw sa bukid (The rain washed away the debris from the mining operations in the mountains to our waters). Mao ni ang hinungdan sa among fish cage na nauhor og namatay (That’s what caused the fishes to die),” A resident in Barangay Pintatagan in Banaybanay said. His video interview was forwarded to the media by SDM.

SDM reported that “Common catches like Bolinao (Anchovies), Talakitok, Squid, and Lapu-lapu had declined after consecutive incidences of heavy siltation.”

Meanwhile, the Davao City Agriculturist’s Office (Cagro) has reported that climate change has affected the production of certain crops in the city.

In a SunStar Davao report on November 9, Cagro focal person on industrial crops Dario Divino said production has been unstable since the changing weather patterns as of late disrupted the usual schedule of the harvest season.

He added the rainy weather earlier in the year replaced what was supposed to be the vital dry season.

“Apan ang nahitabo, bisan gani summer mag ulan (Even when it’s summer, it’s raining). Nausab gyod ang timplada sa atong mga tanom mao na dili na kaayo ta maka-harvest pagabot August, sa Kadayawan na schedule (It changed the conditions of the crops, thus we were not able to harvest in August),” Divino said.

Meanwhile, Davao City is experiencing floods more regularly during heavy rains. Some of the floodwaters are coming from uplands where there are no trees to prevent them from flooding the lowlands. There are also areas in the city where it is just recently experienced a flood.

If you look at these situations, these are all environmental issues that we are facing. These environmental problems are costing us millions of pesos that could be used by the government to build infrastructure. It is costing residents thousands that could be used as business capital, investments, or as savings.

There is a need for our government to be more environmentally conscious, especially with regard to implementing regulatory policies in conserving the environment. The government has the power to prevent large corporations and individuals from destroying the environment. The residents can only do so much.

As a "developing nation," we are already at the receiving end of the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Why would the government want to worsen it?

It is only by having an environmentally-conscious government that we will be able to mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Lip service from the government is definitely not enough. We want to see a government that is actively addressing environmental issues to alleviate the lives of Filipinos.

If we take care of our environment, then it will take care of us too.