As the country is growing the fastest in Asia at the time, the Philippines has environmental challenges which have an impact that is disproportionately affecting women and the poor. Natural resources are significant in the Philippine economy since fishing, agriculture, and forestry account for about 10% of the gross domestic product and close to 30% of the employment.
The inefficient management practices are seriously reducing the nation’s vital biodiversity resources. The country’s air and water pollution levels are far above accepted standards for health; Greenhouse gas emissions from power and transportation sectors are rising; and the country is among those nations which are most susceptible to the impacts of natural disasters.
The Philippines is believed to be among the most endangered nations to the effects of global warming. The Philippines is expected to be among those common countries which are affected by the consequences of climate change. These could worsen the effects of climate change. The Philippines is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, so it is vulnerable to natural catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and typhoons. In 2021 the Philippines ranked fourth in the list of “climate-damaged” countries, partly due to the accessibility of essential infrastructure and habitats near the coast as well as the inability of the government to provide support for affected areas.
Environmental concerns that are affecting the Philippines are lengthy. The natural environment and resources are in danger. Not only is the nation not doing what is right to protect them the oil industry’s interest in resources has intensified the damage that these resources could cause.
If there is no sustainable development, and if it is are not taken urgent actions in areas of the coast, the country will soon be in danger of losing its environment, culture as well as the, diversity of marine life, and the well-being of the population.
Here are the most critical environmental issues in the Philippines
The forest provides opportunities for urban development, such as commercial zones, town bridges, roads, and power stations, which significantly impact the quality and ecology of forests. It results in the reduction of woodlands and also causes deforestation at major levels.
Similar to many other Southeast Asian countries, deforestation is a primary environmental concern within the Philippines. According to various research studies, the Philippines is ranked first and fourth on the list of countries most affected by climate change because of clearing the forests. The nation’s forest cover decreased between 70 and 20 percent through the twentieth century. It is believed in the Philippines that 9.8 million acres of forest disappeared between 1934 to 1988 due to land use patterns and road analysis of maps. Tree cover has increased since 2000, and CO2 emissions of 784Mt.
When the earth is exposed to sunlight in deforestation, it becomes unclean and polluted because it loses nutrients. If it rains, it ishes away the remaining nutrients, flowing through the rivers with rainwater.
In addition, deforestation is occurring, as well as deforestation in the Philippines because of disruptions to the water cycle and loss of biodiversity due to droughts, flooding, and climate changes.
2. Sea level rise
Sea level increase is due to the growth of heat in the oceans, the melting glaciers, and the melting and disappearance of Antarctic and Greenland glaciers. Sea level rise is challenging to determine; current estimates vary from 50 centimeters up to three meters.
Sea level rise places pressure on coastal areas and the ecosystem surrounding them. Salt water could contaminate freshwater and, in the majority, flows into agricultural and urban water sources and ecosystems.
The Philippines will likely see regular and severe flooding due to rising sea levels and frequent storms.
60% of the Philippines’ cities are located along the coast, including the nation’s capital city and the largest, Manila; the country is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and their effects.
As per the IPCC the IPCC, between 2051 and 2060, the amount of fishing taken in the country will decline by 50 percent compared to 2001-2010. Due to the rising temperature of the ocean and rising sea levels, the Philippines could be at risk of losing 9 percent of its GDP due to fishing. It could have economic implications.
3. More debris and solid waste
Solid waste is an essential global issue that demands urgent attention from the government and its citizens. The volume of waste generated in the Philippines is increasing continuously and is predicted to grow even more over the next few years.
The volume of solid waste production varied between 0.10 kg/capita/day for the areas outside Metro Manila to 0.79 kg/capita/day in Metro Manila and HUC. The feces are based on the household’s income, economic activity, protection measures, and rewards; the average for a household is 0.40 kg.
People who live close to or in landfills are more susceptible to contracting different illnesses. Leachate from landfills can be a source of contamination for surface water and groundwater. Pests and insects are the primary sources of contamination caused by waterborne pollutants.
The methane emissions from landfills could impact the health of people in need and contribute to the warming of the earth. The beach and marine litter can affect life quality, create pollution, and damage marine life.
Pollution creates soil, water, air, or other elements of the surrounding environment polluted that can cause harm for humans. Pollution can result in contaminated or toxic soil and water runoff, killing animals and plants. The effect of habitat destruction can be a domino effect in decreasing the amount of biodiversity.
a. Air pollution
Air pollution within the Philippines is due to burning fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. As 53 percent of the population do lack access to safe fuel or cooking technologies, this can make the air more polluted in the future. Vehicle emissions are the primary cause of pollution in urban areas of the United States.
Deaths due to air pollution per 100,000 inhabitants – the third-highest in the world according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization in the Philippines.
The solution to the problem of air pollution in the present world is also one of the solutions to the overwhelming global climate change problem. The ongoing administration in the Philippines must stop energy companies from building new coal-based power plants, canceling existing plants, and investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy.
b. Plastic pollution
The pollution caused by plastics in the Philippines remains an issue because of the absence of sanitation infrastructure. Also by the lack of containment and disposal of plastic waste at sea, and the strict restrictions on construction. At a cost greater than 890 million dollars annually, that is about 78 percent of the value of significant products made from plastic resin.
The pollution from plastic also affects the Philippines The local economy of the Philippines is based on shipping, fishing, and tourism. The pollution also impacts biodiversity everywhere, hampers shipping, beautiful beaches, and rivers.
c. Sea pollution
Marine litter, among the most significant environmental issues worldwide, is also a major issue for the Philippines. Many tons of waste end up in oceans each year, with substantial economic, environmental, and social cost that is difficult to measure. They are dumped into the sea for many reasons, like inadequate sewage filtration, incorrect disposal, and illegal or natural catastrophes. 70% of the population in the Philippines has no access to facilities for sanitary waste recycling and landfills, which cause the waste disposed of to go into oceans.
The increasing amount of marine debris, mainly plastic waste, significantly threatens biodiversity, fragile ecosystems, and human lives. The marine debris also affects the security and quality of food, health, and beach tourism. In addition, it can exacerbate the effects of climate change.
In the Philippines, Many public agencies and government offices are involved in the fight against water pollution. At a national level, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is accountable for protecting the environment. Its management, development, and usage of a healthy ecosystem and the natural environment, which are our natural resources.
5. Change in weather
The Philippines is a significant contributor to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are 0.31 percent. But, the country is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. The pollution from gas throughout the Philippines is rising. More than 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions result from burning oil and coal to produce electricity. The majority of coal-fired power plants are not able to stop operating.
With more than 50 percent of its population living in urban areas and numerous cities along the coast, the Philippines is at risk of rising sea levels. Changes that occur due to the variations and intensity of the precipitation across the country and the increase in temperature can impact food safety and public health.
The Philippines has been destroyed by devastating hurricanes every year over the last ten years. The annual damage caused by hurricanes is estimated to be 1.2 percent of GDP.
More than 1 million hectares of grasslands in the Philippines will be particularly susceptible to climate change in the future. But, in terms of precipitation intensity, the amount that experiences extreme rainfall events is predicted to rise between 2020 and 2050 as the climate is warming.
The Philippines is among the countries that are most at risk worldwide. Each year, the Philippines is a victim of various natural disasters, including volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, and many other complications because of violent conflicts. So, it is essential to implement measures to minimize the adverse effects of these natural disasters and avoid subsequent environmental destruction.