Wednesday, June 13, 2007

DENR monitors 9 Cebu creeks, rivers for flooding risk

Cebu City (12 June) -- Two cities and seven other towns in Cebu are being currently monitored by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-MGB-7) for possible flooding of creeks and rivers due to climate change.

The seven towns are all based in the north namely Carmen, Lilo-an, Consolacion, Madridejos, Compostela and Tudela and Poro in Camotes Island while the two cities are Danao and Mandaue.

A rapid geo-hazard assessment is being done in these areas as part of the DENR-MGB-7's actions in response to the impact of climate change in the region.

Based on the assessment, the following recommendations have been noted such as: monitor progress of mass movement, observe for recurrence of mass movement, observe for rapid increase or decrease in creek or river water levels possibly accompanied by increased turbidity and identify evacuation site. Other listed recommendations are to provide adequate and appropriate drainage facility, adequate protection along river embankment, evacuate residents in down slope of the active slide area and constant information, education and communication.

Climate change is the result of an increase in global temperature commonly known as global warming. Global warming is due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that destroys the earth's ozone layer. Natural greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

In its natural state, carbon dioxide is produced by volcanic eruptions, forest fires and decay of plant and animals and methane is emitted from decaying plants and animals while nitrous oxide results from bacterial breakdown of nitrogen in soils and oceans.

Carbon dioxide accounts for 60 percent of the additional greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of fossil fuels, power plants, industries and vehicles. Next is methane contributing to 20 percent which is emitted by the decomposition of garbage and agricultural wastes and leaks in coal mining while nitrous oxide apart from its natural state is produced from the use of nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides, biomass burning, combustion process in vehicles and acid production.

DENR-MGB 7 chief geologist Al Emil Berador said one indicator that there is an abnormal rise in global temperature is the meltdown of icebergs and glaciers in the North Pole, Antarctica and other frozen areas.

Berador said there is evidence based on satellite photos that there is a steady melting of ice caps in the North Pole which could result to an increase in sea level leading to the flooding of coastal areas which the Philippines, as an archipelagic country is in risk of.

Our country has one of the longest coastlines in the world at 32,400 kms. while most of our communities live in coastal areas that potentially expose them to the hazards of flooding with the rise in sea levels, according to Berador.

The DENR is currently accelerating the geo-hazard mapping project in each region to identify and determine areas most vulnerable to landslides or flooding so that communities can be forewarned of potential danger.

The DENR-7 and the rest of the country joins in the celebration of World Environment Month every June under this year's theme "Beat the Heat!" which tackles the worldwide issue on global warming. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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